20 years ago this month:
- Pursuant to the recommendation of the hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $50,000 for, while a candidate, (1) in campaign literature and during an interview on a radio station, demonstrating a commitment to the prosecution side of criminal cases, exhibiting a hostility or apparent hostility towards defendants in criminal cases, cloaking her entire candidacy in the umbrella of law enforcement, and portraying herself as a pro-prosecution/pro-law enforcement judge while characterizing her opponent as not holding criminals accountable; (2) knowingly misrepresenting that her opponent, the incumbent, had not revoked a defendant’s bond at an emergency bond hearing when, in fact, he had revoked the bond; and (3) knowingly giving the false and misleading impression that a defendant to whom her opponent had granted bond had been charged with attempted murder and burglary when, in fact, no such charges had been pending. Inquiry Concerning Kinsey, 842 So. 2d 77 (Florida 2003).
- Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 120 days without pay for (1) establishing a worthless checks program that did not meet statutory requirements; (2) conducting arraignments and accepting guilty pleas when no prosecutor was present; (3) accepting requests to “fix” traffic tickets and/or other offenses and having a court employee contact the prosecutor’s office to relay the messages; and (4) holding a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer in contempt for failing to appear as a witness in a criminal case, dismissing the criminal charge against the defendant, notifying Wal-Mart that its employee had ignored a subpoena, causing her to be fired, and misrepresenting to Wal-Mart that its employee had lied to him about why she did not appear in court. In re Fuselier, 837 So. 2d 1257 (Louisiana 2003).
- Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Commission on Judicial Performance but disagreeing with its recommendation of a public reprimand, the Mississippi Supreme Court privately reprimanded a judge for, as a member of an association of concerned citizens, participating in writing a petition requesting the removal of a deputy sheriff from the county sheriff’s office. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Justice Court Judge S.S., 834 So. 2d 31 (Mississippi 2003).