Recent cases

  • Denying a motion for reconsideration, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper defending an attorney from attacks by the county attorney and failing to recuse from a criminal case in which the attorney was a witness.  Bernini, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 2022).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for questioning an unrepresented defendant and telling him, “I’m pleading you guilty.”  Rummer, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 24, 2022).
  • Reviewing the findings and recommendations of a hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay, fined her $30,000, and ordered her to appear before it to be publicly reprimanded for (1) representing her son at the police station following his arrest and (2) failing to appropriately supervise her judicial assistant, who sat a counsel table during 2 hearings in the judge’s son’s case and gave him her security badge.  Inquiry Concerning Hobbs (Florida Supreme Court May 19, 2022).  The Court also ordered the judge to attend an employee management program.
  • Pursuant to a deferred recommendation of discipline agreement, the Louisiana Judiciary Commission publicly admonished a justice of the peace for improperly charging her constable some expenses attributable solely to the operation of her office, failing to adequately communicate and cooperate with her constable about accounting and fee sharing, and failing to retain in a separate account the filing fees charged for the clerk of court as required by statute; the Commission also ordered the judge to pay $1,929.34 to the constable’s office in restitution.  In re Holmes, Deferred recommendation of discipline agreement (Louisiana Judiciary Commission May 27, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to recuse himself from a matter involving the son of the former mayor and creating the appearance of bias in favor of the former mayor, having an ex parte communication with the former mayor, and amending a search warrant to exclude the former mayor’s firearms without following appropriate procedures.  In the Matter of Killen, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 16, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for continuing to sit as a municipal judge for 13 months while she was administratively ineligible to practice law based on her failure to comply with the mandatory IOLTA program.  In the Matter of Guzman, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 18, 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 complaints alleging that he, inter alia, (1) failed to make mandatory reports and remittances to the State Comptroller in a timely manner, (2) failed to record all proceedings, as required by law, and (3) failed to administer his court effectively.  In the Matter of Engle, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 5, 2022).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a non-lawyer magistrate for 6 months without pay for, while her husband was sheriff, accessing messages with citizen complaints on the sheriff department’s Facebook page and forwarding those complaints to the department using her judicial email account with requests that certain actions be taken, involving herself in sheriff’s department personnel matters, and preparing correspondence on behalf of the sheriff’s department. In the Matter of Underwood (South Carolina Supreme Court May 25, 2022).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct suspended a judge for 30 days for driving under the influence. In re Humphrey, Order (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 26, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) summoning several assistant district attorneys to his chambers to express his displeasure with their failure to treat him with sufficient respect and to lecture them that they could be held in criminal contempt for that disrespect, referring to himself as the “king” of his court and calling the ADAs “hang’em high prosecutors” during the meeting; and (2) on at least 1 occasion, threatening on the record to charge an ADA with contempt of court for failing to show him the proper respect. Public Admonition of Jordan and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 13, 2022). The Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of additional education with a mentor on judicial temperament and demeanor and a judge’s role as a public servant.

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