5 years ago this month:
- Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disabilities Commission removed a judge from office for performing probable cause determinations in cases involving friends or former clients following ex parte communications, lowering their bail, and releasing them on their own recognizance. Parker, Letter of removal from office (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disabilities Commission December 31, 2016).
- Approving the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s findings and recommendations, which the judge accepted, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for sending an ex parte e-mail to the public defenders’ office, failing to seek a recusal or transfer when an appeal of his denial of a motion to recuse based on the e-mail effectively froze his division, and making impertinent and belittling remarks in open court about that appeal; the Court also ordered the judge to send a letter of apology, continue judicial mentoring for 3 years, and complete a mental health program. Inquiry re Contini, 205 So. 3d 1281 (Florida 2016).
- Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for telling 2 girls she would send them to foster care if they did not go on vacation with their father after an ex parte discussion with the father’s attorney. In re Matter of Embry (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission December 27, 2016).
- Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for circulating a designating petition for another candidate for elective office and improperly attesting to the signatures on 2 other designating petitions. In the Matter of Rumenapp, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 30, 2016).
- Accepting a stipulation and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for making improper public comments on her Facebook account about a matter pending in another court and failing to delete public comments about the matter made by her court clerk. In the Matter of Whitmarsh, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 28, 2016).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission based on a stipulation, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to report income from extra-judicial sources and (2) presiding over a session of district court in which a criminal defendant appeared on his calendar for criminal charges that he had initiated as the complaining witness and agreeing that the charges should be dismissed after the defendant paid him restitution of $3,000 cash in the judge’s chambers. In re Mack, 794 S.E.2d 266 (North Carolina 2016).
- • Adopting the sanction recommended by the Board on Professional Conduct, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former judicial candidate from the practice of law for 1 year for knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth running 2 campaign advertisements that contained patently false statements about his opponent; the Court stayed the final 6 months of the suspension on the conditions that he commit no further misconduct and attend a 6-hour CLE course regarding judicial campaigns. Disciplinary Counsel v. Tamburrino, 87 N.E.3d 158 (Ohio 2016).
- Accepting the sanction recommended by the Board of Professional Conduct based on stipulations of fact and misconduct, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year for contacting a landlord on behalf of a tenant; the Court stayed the suspension on condition he commit no further misconduct. Disciplinary Counsel v. Elum, 71 N.E.3d 1085 (Ohio 2016).