Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on stipulated facts and an agreement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) displaying a crucifix in the courtroom, (2) authorizing the use of his name and title in an advertisement celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, (3) announcing a policy for sentencing persons convicted of DUI that allowed for no exceptions, and (4) making public statements disparaging other judges and local attorneys.  Inquiry Concerning Velasquez, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 16, 1997).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for ordering her clerk to back-date convictions in 47-52 DUI cases to disguise the length of time that she had taken to dispose of the cases.  Inquiry Concerning Johnson, 692 So. 2d 168 (Florida 1997).
  • Acting on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly censured the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court for, on 4 occasions, failing to cooperate with and disobeying law enforcement officials who had stopped him for violations of traffic laws and volunteering the information that he was a member of the judiciary after being stopped by the officers.  In re Heiple, Order (Illinois Courts Commission April 30, 1997).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a former part-time judge for presiding in 20 criminal cases in which attorneys with whom he was associated in the practice of law represented the defendants and for frequently engaging in financial and business dealings with lawyers likely to come before him.  In re Lemoine, 692 So. 2d 358 (Louisiana 1997).
  • Adopting the decision and recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for conducting activities relating to community affairs radio and television programs she produced and hosted during court hours in her chambers; on occasion appropriating the services of court personnel to perform tasks related to the production of the programs during court hours; using the court postage system to circulate correspondence and advertisements related to the programs; using the court’s phone service, voice mail system, fax machine, photocopy machine, and other court materials for the programs; soliciting and receiving funds from a car dealer to sponsor the programs; and failing to report any of the funds received.  In the Matter of Cooley, 563 N.W.2d 645 (Michigan 1997).
  • Pursuant to a joint motion for approval of a recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for ex parte conversations with a defendant, the defendant’s mother, the arresting officer, and the prosecutor and his interference with the defendant’s bonding process.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Vess, 692 So. 2d 80 (Mississippi 1997).
  • The Missouri Supreme Court suspended a judge from office without pay for 30 days for reneging on his agreement with a police chief to drop contempt charges if the police chief released an individual charged with domestic abuse, filing an incomplete and misleading contempt affidavit, and making a public statement regarding a pending case that reflected pre-judgment.  In re Conard, 944 S.W.2d 191 (Missouri 1997).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for making undignified, discourteous, and disparaging statements while sentencing a citizen of Great Britain who had pled guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of her infant child.  In re Hanophy, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 2, 1997).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, based on a stipulation, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for making derogatory remarks regarding a litigant’s national origin in one case; ordering marriage as a condition of probation in 3 cases; and displaying a lack of judicial temperament in 4 domestic violence cases.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Mestemaker, 676 N.E.2d 870 (Ohio 1997).
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge who had, while a judge, been served with an arrest warrant charging assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  In the Matter of Brown, 484 S.E.2d 875 (South Carolina 1997).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for telling a defendant during his arraignment that, if he wanted appointed counsel his jail time, fine, and costs would be stiffer, and during 2 arraignments, advising the defendants that if they asked for appointed counsel, they could expect the maximum jail time.  In the Matter of Jarrell (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 21, 1997).

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