Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Granting the application of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Iowa Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who gave permission for a campaign sign supporting the sheriff to be placed in the yard outside his home and telling the Commission it was his wife who had authorized the sign.  In the Matter of McCormick, 639 P.3d 735 (Iowa 2002).
  • Based on the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications based on stipulations, the Kansas Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for allowing his administrative assistant to work at a second job at the state turnpike authority at times that conflicted with the performance of her judicial branch duties and signing time sheets that falsely represented that she was working at her judicial branch employment when she was working at her second job; the Court also ordered the judge to repay $1,047.95 to the state and to write a letter to be mailed to all judges in the state judicial system apologizing and urging them to pay attention to administrative rules and regulations.  In the Matter of Groneman, 38 P.3d 735 (Kansas 2002).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission to which the judge consented, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a magistrate for 30 days without pay and publicly censured him for advising defendants found guilty of traffic citations to purchase tickets to the Detroit Fire and Police Field Day from a police officer sitting in the courtroom.  In re Shannon, 637 N.W.2d 503 (Michigan 2002).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, and recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 90 days without pay and publicly censured him for (1) altering a screen saver message on a subordinate’s computer screen that read “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels,” to read “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but on her back and in high heels,” or words to that effect; (2) placing 142 calls over 5 days on a court cell phone to try to reach his then-wife without reimbursing the court; (3) improperly using court equipment, supplies, and personnel for purposes related solely to his judicial retention campaign; (4) verbally confronting the manager of a theatre, identifying himself as a district court judge, and being uncooperative when he was asked to leave; and (5) purchasing a used white Corvette convertible that he drove for approximately 2 weeks without displaying the temporary paper license plates.  In re Trudel, 638 N.W.2d 405 (Michigan 2002).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and publicly censured him for (1) refusing to consider evidence or hear arguments regarding the identity of a defendant in a case, being rude, and yelling at the defendant without provocation; and (2) failing to refer a motion to disqualify to the chief judge in accordance with a rule.  In re Bradfield, 638 N.W.2d 107 (Michigan 2002).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the North Dakota Supreme Court publicly censured a former municipal judge and prohibited him from serving as a municipal judge for presiding while smelling of an alcoholic beverage on a number of occasions.  In the Matter of Tessmann, 638 N.W.2d 883 (North Dakota 2002).
  • Adopting the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for accepting 8 tickets (2 tickets in each of 4 years) to attend Pittsburgh Steelers football games from an attorney who appeared in numerous cases before the judge.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Lisotto, 761 N.E.2d 1037 (Ohio 2002).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline but disagreeing with its recommended sanction, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for (1) finding the Director of the County Department of Human Services in contempt without following proper procedures; failing to sentence the director or enter a final, appealable order; and both testifying and presiding at the contempt hearings; (2) without the filing of a complaint, a case number, or journal entry, finding an individual in civil contempt and sentencing her to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine; (3) relying on an outdated statute book, incorrectly sentencing a juvenile; having ex parte communications with employees of the juvenile probation department; conducting a detention hearing without the juveniles’ attorney being present and requiring the juveniles to question the state’s witness; and failing to disqualify himself although he had asked the prosecutor to press felony charges against the juveniles; and (4) following the transfer of a juvenile from the placement ordered by the judge, asking the county prosecuting attorney to prepare arrest warrants for contempt for a supervisor at the county children services and the director and telling the prosecutor to advise the director that if the supervisor resigned he would not proceed.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Karto, 760 N.E.2d 412 (Ohio 2002).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to personally sign court orders issued in judge’s name, allowing his office personnel to sign his name to the orders; and (2) issuing orders without designating any factual basis to support the issuance of those orders.  In the Matter of Smith, 559 S.E.2d 584 (South Carolina 2002).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for finding defendants not guilty because the letters “NG” appeared next to their names on a list provided to him by a city official, which the judge understood to mean “not guilty.”  In the Matter of Eskridge, 559 S.E.2d 575 (South Carolina 2002).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for imposing an unauthorized fee when a victim of an assault refused to take out arrest warrants on all 3 of the men who had attacked him and signing a bench warrant, without a contempt hearing, when the victim did not pay.  In the Matter of Dixon, 559 S.E.2d 576 (South Carolina 2002).

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