What they said that got them in trouble so far in 2022

  • “You’re setting yourself up, sir, to be Bubba’s new best girlfriend at the state penitentiary.  I hope you realize that.  That may hopefully give you a graphic image to think about. . . .   And if you think I’m kidding, I’m not. . . .  The folks at the penitentiary have mothers and sisters and nieces and cousins that they do not want someone out there abusing.  And they will take that out on you, at the penitentiary.  So think about that because you’re racking up felonies at this point.”  Judge to defendant during arraignment on domestic violence charge.  In re Amato, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2022) (admonishment).
  • “Kicked that motherf***er’s a**.”  Judge when he believed that he was no longer on the line after a telephonic hearing had adjourned but, in fact, when the attorneys could still hear him.  In re Dixon, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2022) (admonishment).
  • “Well we’re going to proceed to a jury trial, so your plea has to be not guilty.”  Judge to defendant who wanted to plead guilty.  Public Reprimand of Wilson and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 8, 2022).
  • “I’m pleading you guilty.”  Judge after questioning unrepresented defendant about the reasons he failed to appear at a prior court date and using his answers to coerce him to plead guilty.  Rummer, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 24, 2022) (reprimand).
  • “I’ll tell you when I’m coming back.  It’s not going to be today.  You get your client under control or I am going to tear him up on the stand.  Do you understand me? . . .  He talks over me one more time, I am going to rule summarily against him.  Do you understand that?”  Judge, loudly to the point of yelling, to husband’ counsel in civil action, before leaving the courtroom and failing to the return to the bench to continue hearing the case.  In re Placey, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline February 14, 2022) (reprimand of former judge for rude, loud outbursts towards counsel and witnesses in 6 cases).
  • “Playing games” and “being a consistent problem in court.”  Judge to defense counsel.  Public Reprimand of Mullin (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 2022) (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “The reality has – has come to me that I may not be suitable for this;’” and “[It would have been easier if you had] fussed [at me].  Then we could have rolled around on the floor and strangled each other . . . .”  Judge during ex parte conversation in chambers with the wife’s attorney during the trial in a divorce case.  Public Admonition of Wells (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 20, 2022) (admonition for this and other angry and frustrated outbursts during a trial).
  • “You start with all the information from the report, all the testimony crescendos to the cause and manner of death, which is the sex of the testimony;” and You want to tease the jury with the details of the examination;” and “You want to lead them to the climax of the manner and cause of death,” or words to that effect. Judge giving prosecutor feedback on her cross examination of the medical examiner in a homicide case. In re Morrow (Michigan Supreme Court January 13, 2022) (6-month suspension without pay for this and related misconduct).
  • “Well, I haven’t assessed your muscle mass yet.” Judge to prosecutor when she told him he had guessed her weight wrong. In re Morrow (Michigan Supreme Court January 13, 2022) (6-month suspension without pay for this and related misconduct).
  • “Frigid.” Judge to court clerks. Staggs, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct January 26, 2022) () (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “Sit down and listen to what I have to say.” Judge at the beginning of a 30-minute tirade in chambers to a bail bondsman he had summoned to his chambers after the bondsman criticized him on Facebook. Inquiry Concerning Norris (Georgia Supreme Court June 22, 2022) (reprimand).
  • “A**hole decision.” Magistrate in heated exchange during a meeting in response to a police captain’s criticism to a reporter of the bond the magistrate had set in a case. Public Admonishment of Gaujot (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 25, 2022) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “I have been a probate judge for six years now. And never in my time on the bench have I ever been as personally offended as I am with you right now.” Judge to litigant in 1-hour diatribe during a status conference he called after the litigant had criticized him at the county board of commissioners for not disqualifying himself when his daughter appeared as an attorney. Disciplinary Counsel v. O’Diam (Ohio Supreme Court April 28, 2022) (6-month suspension, stayed with conditions).
  • “It appears that both detectives conducted themselves appropriately in this case, and I find no fault with their investigation;” and “It distresses me greatly to think anyone considers me unfair or biased.” Judge in 2 letters to the police chief about police detectives who were being investigated for misconduct in a case over which she had presided. In the Matter Concerning Meyer, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 5, 2022) (admonishment).
  • “King” and “hang’em high prosecutors.” Judge referring to himself and assistant district attorneys after summoning several ADAs to his chambers to express “his displeasure with their failure to treat him with sufficient respect.” Public Admonition of Jordan and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 13, 2022).
  • “I am so sorry for your continued pain. I don’t have the answer, but I am working on the entire situation. I assure you because I am not happy with the current exigencies as currently exist. Keep praying and I will do the same.” Judge via Facebook Messenger to grandmother in a child custody case. In re Denton (Louisiana Supreme Court March 25, 2022) (4-month suspension without pay for this and other ex parte communications with the grandmother for over a 6-month period and related misconduct).
  • “You going to be a good girl?” Judge to woman when he ordered her release 25 days after having arbitrarily ordering that she be imprisoned 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. In re Toothman, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline March 17, 2022) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “You think I’m going to retaliate? You’re damned right I’m going to retaliate!” Judge after being told the posting of an employee’s private grievance on a public bulletin board might constitute retaliation. In re Toothman, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline March 17, 2022) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “You need to calm your a** down! I am a Magistrate;” “sh** bags;” and “started running her mouth because she’s a woman.” Judge during confrontation with neighbor when police responded to a neighborhood incident, referring to homeless people and his neighbor’s wife. Public Admonishment of Weiss (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 25, 2022).
  • “Muslims need to learn to be American;” “You’re not Special” because “white slaves were sold for centuries;” and “If we had equal rights … my southern heritage would be just as important as your black history.” Memes posted by judge on Facebook page. Public Warning of Black (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2022) (public warning for this and other misconduct).
  • When you vote, the right experience is what matters. While Sharon Marchman has spent her thirty-three year career protecting you, her opponent Jimbo Stephens’ law firm, Stephens and Stephens, was getting paid to defend Sonny James Caston, convicted of murdering a deputy sheriff. Then he reversed a jury’s conviction of a burglar with a twelve-page criminal history. When asked about a crime, Judge Jimbo Stephens stated, ‘It’s illegal to get caught.’ Vote for the right experience – Judge Sharon Marchman.” Judge in campaign ad about opponent. Public Admonishment of Marchman (Louisiana Judiciary Commission April 26, 2022).

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