Recent cases

  • After a hearing on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for “repeatedly disregarding the law as set forth in decisions of the Alabama appellate courts and by defying and disregarding orders and decisions of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, including those ordering her recusal;” “making inappropriate statements regarding the Alabama judiciary,” including statements in an order suggesting that it “is politically corrupt, that court-appointed attorney assignments are based on political contributions to judicial campaigns, and that ‘[a]n appeal to the higher courts in Alabama on behalf of a capital defendant sentenced to death by judicial override is ceremonial at best;” “engaging in extrajudicial factual investigations, by making findings of fact regarding matters as to which no evidence was presented, and by inappropriately inserting legal issues not raised by the parties, thereby abandoning her role as a neutral arbiter and becoming an advocate for defendants, her own judicial rulings, and her personal opinions;” and “questioning an attorney in her courtroom regarding his contributions to her political opponent’s campaign in a matter in which such contributions were not at issue and were not raised by any party.”  In the Matter of Todd, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary December 3, 2021).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation from office and his agreement that he will never seek or accept a position involving service as a judicial officer in the state, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct closed 3 matters against a judge who stipulated that (1) just over 1 minute into a hearing in 4 related civil protective order cases, he had ordered the petitioner to undergo a competence examination under Rule 11 of the rules of criminal procedure, which does not apply in civil matters; and (2) he had attempted to engage in a personal or extrajudicial relationship with a clerk, creating a work environment that made her feel uncomfortable and was offensive to her.  Inquiry Concerning Eisele, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 17, 2021).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for a pattern of yelling at court staff and using profanity; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete a training course that addresses leadership and/or management skills and interpersonal skills with subordinates.  Carroll, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 12, 2021).
  • Based on an agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly censured a judge for a verbal confrontation with 3 people about a parking space.  Re Karren, Letter (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission January 21, 2022).
  • The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed an uncontested order of the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure involuntarily retiring a judge based on extensive and extraordinary delays in cases on his calendar and a mental and or physical disability that is or is likely to become permanent and that prevents or seriously interferes with, the proper performance of his judicial duties.  In re Berk, Order (D.C. Court of Appeals November 4, 2021), affirming.
  • Approving a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court barred a former judge from judicial service and publicly reprimanded him for allowing the coordinator of the drug court over which he presided to engage in activities in support of the judge’s re-election campaign during work hours and discussing the distribution of a campaign yard sign with a drug court participant in the courtroom and delivering a sign to the defendant.  In the Matter of Miller (Indiana Supreme Court January 21, 2022).
  • Because the respondent filed no exceptions, the Kansas Supreme Court accepted the findings and conclusions of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which were based on stipulations, but took no further action on the Commission’s recommendation that a former magistrate judge be publicly censured for giving access to nude and partially nude photos of himself to the complainant and the complainant’s wife on a social media dating website for couples, sending sexually revealing photographs of himself to the complainant’s wife, and requesting that the complainant’s wife send sexually explicit photos to him.  In the Matter of Clark (Kansas Supreme Court January 28, 2022). 
  • Rejecting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court imposed no discipline on a judge for remaining on the bench even though she was elected after turning 70, contrary to the state constitution.  In re Matthews (Louisiana Supreme Court January 28, 2022). 
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay and publicly censured him for using sexually graphic language in conversations with female assistant prosecutors during breaks in a homicide trial and questioning them about their height and weight.  In re Morrow (Michigan Supreme Court January 13, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreement, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for engaging in 2 ex parte phone calls on a Friday with the father of a woman who had just been arrested on multiple violent felonies; releasing the defendant on Saturday, contrary to the court protocol directing judges on call over the weekend not to release alleged violent offenders until the next business day; and failing to disclose the calls to the prosecution.  Inquiry Concerning Anaya (New Mexico Supreme Court December 13, 2021).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a non-attorney judge from office for (1) posting, disseminating, and/or approvingly commenting on sexually charged content and images on Facebook that were demeaning to women or otherwise offensive and (2) using his Facebook account to publicly engage in fundraising for the National Rifle Association.  In the Matter of Stilson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 7, 2022).
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to enter orders within the required time frames in 2 cases; the judge accepted the reprimand.  Crozier (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct January 10, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge who had been arrested and charged with use of an abusable volatile chemical, specifically, “whippets” or nitrous oxide cartridges.  Public Admonition of Starowitz (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 8, 2021).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for soliciting donations for a charity in a newspaper ad.  Public Admonishment of Headley (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission December 15, 2021).

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