Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended for 30 days a court of appeal judge who had failed to restrain his temper on 2 days, putting into play events that culminated in a physical fight between him and another judge on the court.  In re Jones, 800 So. 2d 828 (Louisiana 2001).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s waiver of formal hearing, the Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly reprimanded a judge for engaging in communications with litigants in a domestic relations matter pending before him concerning the wife’s failure to exchange certain personal property.  In the Matter of Spethman (Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications November 29, 2001).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for (1) engaging in a course of conduct, arising out of a personal relationship with his law clerk, that detracted from the dignity of his office, seriously disrupted the operations of the court, and constituted an abuse of his judicial and administrative power, and (2) issuing an ex parte order terminating the suspension of the driver’s license of a long-time acquaintance.  In the Matter of Going, 761 N.E.2d 585 (New York 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, on numerous occasions over several years, urging an attorney to agree to share a substantial legal fee with the judge’s wife.  In the Matter of Ohlig, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured  a non-lawyer judge for (1) presiding in unrelated cases involving 3 youths the judge believed had vandalized his residence, twice making comments while presiding in cases involving one of the youths that conveyed the appearance that he was biased, and giving the maximum fines to the 3 defendants when they appeared before him in unrelated cases after telling his clerk he intended to do so; and (2) publicly announcing a policy concerning the sentence he would impose in certain drunk-driving cases.  In the Matter of Tracy, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for closing his courtroom for civil and criminal proceedings that should have been open to the public, failing to advise all defendants charged with offenses for which a sentence of a term of imprisonment was authorized of the right to assigned counsel, and failing to assign counsel to eligible defendants charged with non-vehicle and traffic infractions as required by statute.  In the Matter of Shannon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for advising the press that he had changed his view of the law with respect to death-threat cases soon after being criticized for a decision in such a case and, while a candidate for another judicial office, stating what position he would take in future death-threat cases.  In the Matter of Dickerson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Approving an agreement statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) failing to advise his administrative judge of his planned absences from the court for most of 31 consecutive days to attend a broadcasting course and attending the classes without approval for 8 days; and (2) presiding over 10 matters involving an attorney with whom he had a romantic relationship and making 2 telephone calls to the attorney’s employer to complain about her supervisor.  In the Matter of DiBlasi, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) engaging in an improper ex parte conversation with a prosecutor’s supervisor; (2) in 3 cases, misusing bail to attempt to coerce guilty pleas; (3) holding 2 defendants in custody without complying with summary contempt procedures; (4) excluding 2 Legal Aid Society attorneys from the courtroom without complying with the requirements of a summary contempt; (5) telling a defendant’s mother that if she wanted to come to an American courtroom, she could learn to speak English or leave; and (6) telling a defendant to go to her embassy to obtain proof of legal residency as a requisite for access to legal services.  In the Matter of Recant, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to report any cases or remit court funds to the state comptroller.  In the Matter of Hrycun, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for committing a defendant to jail after the defendant stated that he was unable to pay a $100 fine for a traffic infraction and failing to advise the defendant of his right to be resentenced.  In the Matter of Nichols, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for (1) driving his court clerk to a county fair to drop off a candidate’s posters at a political party’s booth; (2) stating in court that he was tired of the district attorney’s office’s refusal to offer an adequate plea bargain and alleging that the district attorney was making prosecutorial decisions for political reasons; (3) ordering a victim’s attorney to leave the courtroom during a public trial; and (4) signing a judgment without holding a hearing on the contested issues or according the pro se defendants full opportunity to be heard.  In the Matter of Williams, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) referring to the daughter of a defendant charged with harassment, stating that he would have “slapped her around” himself, and deciding not to issue an order of protection he had been considering; (2) stating that he could not “do that to a fellow truck driver” in declining to suspend a defendant’s driver’s license pending prosecution; (3) questioning a defendant charged with failure to yield after he pleaded not guilty; (4) failing to advise a defendant charged with contempt of his right to assigned counsel; (5) holding a hearing without administering an oath to the witnesses; (6) failing to promptly disqualify himself from a harassment charge where he had a bias in favor of one of the parties; and (7) as a matter of practice, failing to advise defendants of their right to assigned counsel in violation of a statute.  In the Matter of Moore, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for (1) convicting a defendant of a reduced speeding charge based solely upon receipt of a plea offer from the prosecution, without a trial or guilty plea, and imposing a fine that exceeded the maximum permitted by law; and (2) having a regular practice of imposing fines based on the original charge, rather than the charge for which the defendants had been convicted.  In the Matter of Christie, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) permitting another judge to participate in a conference in chambers and not rebuking him when he made derogatory comments about the complaining witness, (2) failing to report the other judge’s misconduct to the Commission, and (3) failing to maintain complete and accurate records of the receipt and disbursement of court funds and failing to timely deposit all court funds.  In the Matter of Restino, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2001).

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