Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance made public its private admonishment of a judge for (1) removing 2 children from their mother’s home without giving her notice or a reasonable opportunity to be heard; (2) holding proceedings to declare a child a dependent of the court without giving the father (who was in prison) adequate notice or a reasonable opportunity to be heard; (3) ordering that the legal custody of a child be transferred to the father without giving the mother notice or a reasonable opportunity to be heard and without making a finding of dependency; and (4) without giving the parents or grandparents notice or a reasonable opportunity to be heard, ordering that a child who was residing with her grandparents be placed in a non-relative foster/adoptive home and that there be no visitation by the parents or grandparents.  Inquiry Concerning Bishop, Decision and Order Imposing Private Admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 4, 2002).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly admonished a judge for, while presiding over a trial, soliciting communications from unnamed computer consultants and experts concerning technical issues relating to damages in the case without the involvement of the litigants or their attorneys.  Inquiry Concerning Baker, 813 So. 2d 36 (Florida 2002).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for praising a jury’s guilty verdict and making gratuitous statements excoriating defense counsel.  In the Matter of Dillon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 6, 2002).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a non-lawyer judge for, after accepting checks from a client and employee of his private investigations business to use to pay the client’s bills while the client was in prison, endorsing and cashing the checks, converting the funds to his personal use, never paying any of the bills as requested, and refusing to return the funds despite repeated requests.  In the Matter of George, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 4, 2002).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline based on stipulated facts, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for asking state highway patrol officers to keep the number of traffic tickets level so that he would not have to raise court costs.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Kiacz, 763 N.E.2d 590 (Ohio 2002).
  • The Oregon Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for driving while intoxicated.  Inquiry Concerning Norblad, 39 P.3d 860 (Oregon 2002).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for (1) attempting to warn a former narcotics officer about a sheriff’s department investigation and (2) holding a complainant in contempt of court without following proper procedures.  In the Matter of Rushton, 560 S.E.2d 418 (South Carolina 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a court of appeals judge for allowing a bumper sticker endorsing a Democratic candidate for governor to remain affixed to the back of a vehicle bearing her official state judge license plates.  Public Admonition of Rodriguez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 15, 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) writing a blind letter of recommendation for a friend on official court letterhead and failing to control how the letter was used so that it appeared in a newspaper as a public endorsement of the friend’s candidacy for sheriff; and (2) although no criminal complaint had been filed and no case was pending before the judge, summoning 8 women to appear in her court, failing to admonish them about their constitutional rights, and acting as an ombudsman to attempt to mediate a dispute between feuding parties. Public Admonition of Velasquez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 15, 2002).

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