What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2022

What they said that got them in trouble in the first half of 2022

What they said in criminal cases

  • “I am not going to appoint a lawyer for you.  Get a job.”  Judge to defendants seeking appointment of counsel.  Bourne, Letter of censure (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission August 1, 2022).
  • “You should have stayed in south Arkansas;” “I wish you would have stayed in Illinois;” and “I get a lot of troublemakers from California.”  Judge to defendants from outside the county.  Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission v. Bourne, Per curiam (Arkansas Supreme Court August 9, 2022) (90-day suspension without pay with 75 days held in abeyance subject to conditions).
  • “[Does everyone speak] Engrish?”  Judge addressing a jury pool using an Asian accent.  In the Matter of Patterson, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary October 27, 2022), agreed resolution of complaint (45-day suspension without pay and censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “Prison Patterson” and “Judge Hard-a*s.”  Judge referring to himself when speaking with attorneys.  In the Matter of Patterson, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary October 27, 2022), agreed resolution of complaint (45-day suspension without pay and censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “And you know and I know that the State is broke. . . .  And memaw’s prison system is going to let him out at some point.”  Judge to victim in a case.  In the Matter of Patterson, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary October 27, 2022), agreed resolution of complaint (45-day suspension without pay and censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “You don’t want to be somebody’s girlfriend when you go up the road,” and “butt raped.”  Judge referring to defendants going to penitentiary.  In the Matter of Patterson, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary October 27, 2022), agreed resolution of complaint (45-day suspension without pay and censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “So you have been dumping some waste off the side of the road, in streams and so on?” and, “I’m going to read you the rights.  Well, in this case, I don’t think it’s necessary.”  Judge to defendant at arraignment.  In the Matter of Arndt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 28, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “Esteemed.” Judge referring to testimony of police officer. Staggs, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2023) (reprimand for this and related misconduct).
  • “Zero credibility with myself or the prosecutor’s office.”  Judge before dismissing cases involving a particular deputy sheriff.  Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission v. Carroll, Opinion (Arkansas Supreme Court November 18, 2022)  (18-month suspension without pay, with six months held in abeyance for one year contingent on compliance with remedial measures).
  • “Wasting [my] time,” and “idiots.”  Judge about police officers during arraignments.  Public Admonishment of Harshbarger (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission December 15, 2022).
  • “[T]he prosecutor isn’t here.  Let’s see how much we can get away with.”  Judge before engaging in ex parte plea bargaining with defendants.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Carr (Ohio Supreme Court October 18, 2022) (indefinite suspension).
  • “You can trust me.  I know I’m not dressed like a judge, but I’m really the judge.”  Judge “reveling” in her lack of decorum, which included wearing tank tops, t-shirts (some with images or slogans), spandex shorts, and sneakers while presiding in court.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Carr (Ohio Supreme Court October 18, 2022) (indefinite suspension).
  • “Little boy.”  Judge berating male defendants who called her “ma’am,” which she resented.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Carr (Ohio Supreme Court October 18, 2022) (indefinite suspension).
  • “Always getting us the hookups.  Don’t worry, we don’t have to pay.  It’s on him.”  Judge joking in court about accepting food, beverages, flooring, and car repair for herself and her staff in exchange for waiving fees.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Carr (Ohio Supreme Court October 18, 2022) (indefinite suspension).

What they said in family law cases

  • “Am I invited?  Do you have any single friends?”  Judge to attorney after being told female litigant was getting married.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “Did I already say it’s because they are women?”  Judge talking about 2 daughters who refused to attend a wedding.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “That’s bullsh*t!”  Judge to male litigant in child support case.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “Or you’re going to prison forever!  I will send you down to live with the sodomites.”  Judge to male litigant in child support case.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022), accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “We all look alike.  Didn’t you know it’s a Trans world?”  Judge to female witness after accidentally referring to a male witness as “she.”  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “You don’t know?  I’ll take the child and put it up for adoption then.  What do you mean you don’t know what you’re going to do?”  Judge to parents in child custody case.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “I don’t give a f*ck!  You have until 5 o’clock today!  Go get it!”  Judge when a litigant did not provide proof that he was in compliance with a drug program, after throwing a file in the litigant’s direction.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “Because you’re lazy and don’t give a sh*t maybe?”  Judge asking litigant why he had not produced records regarding his drug screens.  In the Matter of Camilletti, Order (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals September 20, 2022) accepting agreed resolution of statement of charges (12-month suspension without pay, with 11 months held in abeyance, reprimand, and counseling for this and other misconduct).
  • “Who gives a f*k?” and “Of course not, they’re a bunch of morons.’”  Judge under his breath during a telephone hearing in a marital case.  In the Matter of DalPra, Order (New Hampshire Supreme Court November 10, 2022), based on findings and recommendation (finding of misconduct with no additional disciplinary action against former judge).
  • “Sinister plan.”  Judge during an in camera interview accusing a six-year-old girl of implicating her mother in false allegations against her father.  In the Matter of Hummel, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission December 2, 2022) (admonishment).

What they said in small claims and other civil cases

  • “Get the f**king wax out of [your] ears.”  Judge to plaintiff’s counsel in an exchange about a motion. In the Matter of Martin, 878 S.E.2d 865 (South Carolina 2022) (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “Smart aleck,” “smart-alecky,” and “I understand what they were going to testify about, ma’am, I’m not an idiot, okay.”  Judge to litigant in unlawful detainer case.  In the Matter of Mulvihill, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 27, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “So what’d you do with the money?” and “Just will you stop getting mouthy with me?”  Judge to defendant in small claims case.  In the Matter of Arndt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 28, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “I’m going to think this out and do a judgment against him, more than likely . . .  And then you put a lien on his house, but I’m not sure about your ladders.  You might have to give him his ladder back.”  Judge to plaintiff in small claims case after the defendant left the courtroom.  In the Matter of Arndt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 28, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “You’re trying to get me to figure out this whole mess and it’s really a mess . . .  This is not something I can do fairly and understand . . .  I’m not that qualified to take care of it, to be honest with you;” and “because really, it’s way over my head.”  Judge to parties in small claims case.  In the Matter of Arndt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 28, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “I think you’re abusing this . . . woman;” “You could’ve just changed the fricken part here;” “You didn’t do anything . . .  Where the hell did you go in eight hours?” Judge to defendant plumber in small claims case.  In the Matter of Kraker, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 6, 2022) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “The way it works is, file when you can.  I’m not going to turn it down.  I start reading.  And when I get bored, I stop reading … [p]ut the good stuff up front.”  Judge to attorney about filing an opposition to a motion.  Public Admonishment of Hunt (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 5, 2022) (admonishment for this and similar misconduct).

Next week:

  • What they said in the pandemic
  • What they said to or about court staff or other judges
  • What they said on social media
  • What they said outside the courthouse

One thought on “What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2022

  1. Pingback: What they said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2022: Part 2 | Judicial ethics and discipline

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