What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2021: Part 2

What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2021: Part 1

Off-the-bench

  • “Incidentally, [Mr. S.] has a reputation for truth, honesty, reliability and trustworthiness, and the court even waived bond because of this and its trust of [Mr. S.];” and “I am aware of the fact that there is a claim in New Jersey that [Mr. S.] has made fraudulent conveyances of his mother’s money.  THIS IS A COMPLETE AND UNADULTERATED LIE, AND COMPLETELY UNTRUE.  There is NO VALIDITY TO THAT STATEMENT AT ALL.”  Judge in certification submitted in litigation pending in the New Jersey.  In the Matter of Johns, 864 S.E.2d 546 (South Carolina 2021) (18-suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “We have over forty children in need this year.  Please help us meet our goal of bringing a Magical Christmas to each of these children.  We can only do this through donations. . . .  Santa will arrive on schedule this year!”  Magistrate-elect who was former sheriff in newspaper ad.  Public Admonishment of Headley (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission December 15, 2021).
  • “[I might have to] let it ride.”  Judge about his failure to complete any of his required judicial education for several years.  Public Admonition of Valdez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).

On social media

  • “Hey come down to visit today or soon.  I may have an ‘Offer you can’t Refuse!!’”  Judge in private Facebook message to court reporter.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Berry, Order (Ohio Supreme Court November 3, 2021) (6-month suspension without pay, stayed with conditions, for this and other inappropriate communications with a court reporter on Facebook and by text and phone calls).
  • “For my birthday this year, I’m asking for donations to American Red Cross.  I’ve chosen this nonprofit because of food, water, and much more provided for those affected by Hurricane Florence in NC & SC.”  Judge in Facebook post.  In the Matter of Johns, 864 S.E.2d 546 (South Carolina 2021) (18-suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “When stealing stealth is key.  You want to blend in with your surroundings;” “You and your 5’10 sister walk in [Walmart] with green hair and green toenails and green flip flops that smack the back of your feet with every step you make and you don’t blend in and you are caught with three steaks shoved into your pants.  You forgot to be stealth;” “Remember people, the goal of criminal and bad behavior is to get away with it;” “screaming and cursing and fighting in front of police officers 10 out of 10 times is detrimental to ones [sic] freedom;” and it is “downright damn humiliating when [police are] pulling crack from your crack!  Find someplace else to hide your stash.”  Judge providing “legal tips” on Facebook.  Webb (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct November 5, 2021) (public reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “Well damn!  Give me a black hat and a black horse and call me a desperado, I feel like I was in [sic] just busted.”  Judge on Facebook after newspaper reported on the second suspension of his law license for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements.  Webb (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct November 5, 2021) (public reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • I receive the phone call early this morning for an inquest.  It’s very hard when it’s a friend, as I still have to do my job.  Now sitting outside the house in my car.  I’m finding it really hard not to break down.  This world lost a GREAT WOMAN today in Bastrop as God has taken another angel too add to the kingdom that awaits us all.  Rest in Peace Kat Stewart Handy.”  Judge in Facebook post after conducting the inquest of a friend.  Public Reprimand of Thomson (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • “Scientology is not a church.  It is an evil scam.”  Judge commenting on Facebook about an article she shared titled “Scientologist’s Facilities Closed After Police Find People Held Prisoner Inside.”  Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • “How to carry kids across the border . . . .”  Title of book the Looney Tune character Wily E. Coyote was reading before lighting a fuse on a rocket to which Dora the Explorer, a Hispanic cartoon character, was tied in a meme a judge posted to Facebook.  Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • “[George Gascón] took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the state of California …  He is blatantly violating Section 28(f)(4) in dismissal of any prior enhancements.”  Judge in post on Facebook group called “Recall George Gascón,” referring to the new county district attorney.  In the Matter Concerning O’Gara, Decision and order imposing public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 14, 2021) (admonishment this and other comments on social media).
  • “There’s 3.2 mil AR15’s in the US per Slate.com & about 12 attacks using them.  Why punish other 3,199,988?”  Judge on Twitter.  In the Matter Concerning O’Gara, Decision and order imposing public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 14, 2021) (admonishment for this and other comments on social media).
  • “Like.”  Judge on Twitter to tweets such as, “I don’t approve of storming the Capitol but isn’t it a fact that if Antifa and BLM did it, the media would be in raptures about the passionate demonstration of commitment to racial justice?”; and “Liberal media pundits want you to think referring to the coronavirus as the ‘Wuhan’ or ‘Chinese’ virus is racist;” and “#FreeLouieCK.”  In the Matter Concerning O’Gara, Decision and order imposing public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 14, 2021) (admonishment for this and other comments on social media).

In campaigns

  • “At the end of the day, I want everyone who leaves my courtroom to know that they have been heard.”  Judge in campaign ad on Facebook with photo of the judge in his judicial robe standing behind the bench in his courtroom.  Inquiry Concerning Hatfield (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct July 16, 2021) (cease and desist order for this and other campaign materials).
  • “Hi everybody, Watson here.  I don’t really fill this seat well but ya know who does?  My human Judge Sean Hatfield.  Thank you for supporting him.  You can continue to support my human by making sure you’re registered to vote!  The last day to register is October 13th.  You can find everything you need at this website.  (It said it had cookies but I didn’t see any- howrude!)”  Judicial campaign ad on Facebook with his dog sitting behind the bench.  Inquiry Concerning Hatfield (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct July 16, 2021) (cease and desist order for this and other campaign materials).
  • “Socialist James Thompson.”  Judge in campaign flyer creating false impression of opponent’s political position.  Inquiry Concerning Hatfield (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct July 16, 2021) (cease and desist order for this and other campaign materials).
  • “Robert Francis O’Rourke.  #fakemexican.”  Judge on Facebook about then-candidate for U.S. Senate, Beto O’Rourke.  Public Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • “Gun grabber” and a “RINO.”  Judge on Facebook about another judge’s campaign opponent.  Public Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • “Like.”  Judge’s reaction to a Facebook post about a campaign event for another judge.  Public Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • “Finally Gone!!!” and 2 laughing emojis.  Judge in a Facebook post about a state representative’s loss in a primary and reacting to the comment, “I’m sure [the former representative] will find a job, there are lots of local opportunities in both the hotel and food service industry.”  Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).

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