5 years ago this month:
- The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for indicating that a defendant could be released to a behavioral health treatment provider after an ex parte hearing in which the defendant’s father had argued for the release. Hudson, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2017).
- The California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for (1) while running for office in 2012, (a) misrepresenting on his campaign web-site that he was the current president of the Family Values Coalition, the Justice Political Action Committee, and the California Justice Political Action Committee, and that the Family Values Coalition was a current non-profit California corporation; (b) failing to resign as president or chair of 3 political action committees before becoming a candidate for judicial office; (c) misrepresenting on his Fair Political Practices Commission form that he had served as chair of the Beat Obama Political Action Committee; (d) publicly opposing former President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012; (e) failing to disclose $8,835 in accrued campaign expenses and failing to file amended statements; and (f) using a personal bank account and credit card to pay for campaign expenses; (2) after being sworn in as a judge, remaining as counsel of record in a federal action for approximately 6 weeks and giving the impression of practicing law by issuing 4 checks that identified the account holder as “Gary G Kreep Sole Prop, DBA The Law Offices of Gary G Kreep;” (3) 15 incidents that reflected a lack of proper courtroom decorum, poor demeanor, bias, and/or a lack of impartiality in the courtroom; (4) improperly responding to a “blanket” challenge from the city attorney’s office by telling deputy public defenders and public defender interns to “watch out;” (5) telling an African-American court employee that she should not say she did not win a Halloween costume contest “due to racism;” (6) stating during a proceeding, “I had a Filipino teacher who always used to ask for a s**t of paper;” (7) improperly soliciting the legal opinion of attorneys who did not represent a party in the case before him; (8) giving a small claims plaintiff the choice of dismissing his case and filing it as a limited or unlimited civil case or having the judge decide the case based on evidence that the judge said was insufficient to support the claim of damages; and (9) repeatedly interjecting views based on his personal experience during a small claims case. Inquiry Concerning Kreep, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 7, 2017).
- Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 120 days without pay, fined him $3,000, and publicly reprimanded him for ordering a man to serve 6 months in a work center for a conviction he had already appealed and for which he had already satisfied his sentence. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Sheffield, 235 So. 3d 30 (Mississippi 2017).
- The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a non-lawyer judge without pay for 1 year for (1) sealing her then son-in-law’s criminal records relating to his arrests for domestic battery of her daughter; (2) improperly ordering staff to conduct an illegal criminal records search of her friend’s boyfriend; (3) sentencing an unrepresented individual to 8 months in jail in violation of due process; (4) referring to men as “sperm donors;” (5) running a juvenile diversion program that did not comply with the law; and (6) issuing orders in small claims cases regarding titles for abandoned vehicles. In the Matter of Haviland, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 29, 2017).
- Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for giving an interview about a pending case on which he had served as prosecutor. In the Matter of Kephart, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 31, 2017).
- With the judge’s consent and conditioned on his agreement that the letter be public, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board issued a letter of counsel to a judge for being involved in a “support relationship” with the district attorney during his second divorce without disclosing the relationship when she and attorneys from the district attorney’s office presented matters in his court. Letter to Grine (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board August 20, 2017).
- The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for comments she made criticizing the district attorney during 4 habeas corpus hearings. Public Reprimand of Schildknecht (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2017).
- The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for allowing a photo of the judge labeled with his title to be used in a newspaper advertisement for his home health agency. In the Matter of Elbon, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 24, 2017).