Recent cases

  • Accepting an agreement, the Georgia Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for periodically dismissing cases without the legal authority to do so.  Inquiry Concerning Baker (Georgia Supreme Court March 8, 2022).
  • Reviewing the findings and recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, which were based on stipulations, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 4 months without pay for, while presiding over a child custody case, engaging in improper ex parte communications on Facebook Messenger with the children’s maternal grandmother for over a 6-month period; attempting to issue a special order for visitation; and misleading a fellow judge by failing to disclose his personal involvement in the matter and disparaging the grandmother’s attorney.  In re Denton (Louisiana Supreme Court March 25, 2022).
  • Based on the report and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Massachusetts Supreme Court Judicial Conduct suspended a judge without pay for engaging in an intentionally touching a court employee without her consent at a court-sponsored event and providing inconsistent and knowingly false statements during the investigation and hearing; the suspension was for “a reasonable time to permit the executive and legislative branches to consider, if they wish, whether the respondent should retain his judicial office.”  In the Matter of Sushchyk, 183 N.E.3d 388 (Massachusetts 2022).
  • Based on the report of a referee following a hearing, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for failing to disclose a debt owed to her on her financial disclosure forms from 2006 to 2019 and suggesting to the debtor’s attorney that the debtor sign a confession of judgment or exclude the debt from his bankruptcy filing.  In the Matter of Jamieson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 11, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to certify to the state Department of Labor all of the days that he had presided as a town justice, and, as a result, accepting unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.  In the Matter of Okolowicz, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 17, 2022).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former non-lawyer judge; the Commission had informed the judge that it was investigating a complaint alleging, inter alia, that the judge (1) at the arraignment of a defendant who identifies as Native American, made snide comments about the defendant’s annuity from the Seneca Nation; (2) failed to file mandatory reports and remittances to the State Comptroller on time; and (3) imposed fines and surcharges outside the limits set in statute.  In the Matter of Schindler, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2022).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that she has vacated her office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter against a former judge; in December, the judge was convicted by a jury of federal charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to a federal agent.  In the Matter of Ash, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2022). 
  • Based on its findings of misconduct, which were based on stipulated facts, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge and barred him from further judicial service for (1) arbitrarily ordering that a woman be imprisoned for 25 days on a “dubious probation violation charge” out of anger and “on a personal whim” after she offended his law clerk in a disagreement in a convenience store and (2) attempted to intimidate a courthouse employee into signing a confidentiality statement by posting the employee’s private grievance on a public bulletin.  In re Toothman, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline March 17, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for stating in a Facebook post that he would release anyone brought before him charged with violating stay at home orders or other restrictions issued during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Public Admonition of Black (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 28, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for, in 3 family violence cases, intentionally delaying hearings, resetting cases multiple times without just cause, failing to effectively communicate her expectations about procedures and time constraints to waiting court-goers, and repeatedly ignoring attorneys’ requests to obtain case settings or to dispose of their clients’ cases.  Public Reprimand of Mullin (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 2022).

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