Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay and publicly reprimanded him for (1) while a candidate, (a) falsely stating in a televised debate that he had never been accused of a conflict of interest and failing to correct that statement during the debate or publicly thereafter and (b) stating that he is a registered Republican and that his former affiliation with the Democratic Party was an error; and (2) while an attorney, (a) failing to advise opposing counsel that he was representing the judge presiding in an unrelated case; (b) failing to advise 3 clients of the risks and advantages of common representation and to withdraw when conflicts were apparent; and (c) engaging in representation of one client to the detriment of other clients and incorrectly stating the status of his representation on filings with the bankruptcy court.  Inquiry Concerning Decker, 212 So. 3d 291 (Florida 2017).
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge without pay for 30 days for (1) granting permanent sole custody of a child without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence or giving the respondent an opportunity to obtain counsel, cross-examine witnesses, or introduce evidence and (2) ordering 2 minor children to be immediately placed in foster care without conducting a formal hearing, taking any sworn testimony, or affording the parents basic due process; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete courses and training on substantive and procedural due process.  In re Stein, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission March 21, 2017).
  • Based on the findings of a referee following a hearing, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) dismissing or reducing charges without notice to or the consent of the prosecution; (2) failing to provide a defendant the opportunity to be heard regarding bail; (3) improperly increasing bail; (4) imposing conditions of release on a defendant that were not based in the law; (5) failing to advise a defendant of the right to counsel, asking incriminatory questions, and imposing improper conditions for permitting the defendant to negotiate a plea; and (6) making improper comments about a defendant’s physical appearance.  In the Matter of Clark, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 2017).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for making public comments about a pending murder case over which he was presiding in 3 media interviews and, in a post-trial proceeding, being discourteous to the prosecutor.  In the Matter of Piampiano, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 2017).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for signing his name and judicial title beneath a defendant’s signature on a letter requesting another judge to change a plea for a traffic infraction.  In the Matter of Sullivan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 2017).
  • As recommended by the Judicial Conduct Commission, the North Dakota Supreme Court suspended a judge for 3 months without pay for a pattern of delay and failing to respond to letters from the presiding judge about the timeliness of decisions; the Court also ordered him to attend the course on decision-making at the National Judicial College.  In the Matter of Hagar, 891 N.W.2d 735 (North Dakota 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to provide the plaintiff in a small claims case with adequate written notice of his trial and proceeding to trial without requiring the defendant to file a written answer; communicating with the defendant regarding the merits of the case; failing to treat the plaintiff with patience, dignity, and courtesy; presenting a settlement offer from the defendant to the plaintiff, and using racially insensitive language while in the courthouse; the Commission also required the judge to complete training for new judges and participate in 1 hour of instruction on racial sensitivity with a mentor to be chosen by the Commission.  Public Reprimand of DeLaPaz and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for refusing to allow a member of the public to inspect and copy case files and physically escorting him out of his office.  Public Warning of Alford and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 28, 2017).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for (1) wrongly criticizing the pre-trial/bond review program and a circuit court judge while a guest on a radio program, (2) ex parte communications with a public defender, and (3) banning the complainant from the courtroom in retaliation for informing the prosecutor about the magistrate’s ex parte communications with a public defender.  Public Admonishment of Bias (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission March 1, 2017).
  • In a de novo review, the Wyoming Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for refusing to perform same-sex marriages and ordered that she either perform no marriage ceremonies or that she perform marriage ceremonies regardless of the couple’s sexual orientation.  Inquiry Concerning Neely, 390 P.3d 728 (Wyoming 2017).

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