In 2022, there were 8 dispositions in discipline proceedings involving judges or former judges who had been convicted or charged with crimes.
- Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Discipline, which was based on a stipulation, the Colorado Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 30 days without pay and publicly censured him for pointing an AR-15 style rifle at his adult stepson during a confrontation. In the Matter of Thompson, 516 P.3d 28 (Colorado 2022). The judge had been placed on paid administrative leave after criminal charges were filed based on the incident. The judge pled guilty to disorderly conduct, specifically, recklessly displaying a deadly weapon or “any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe [it was] a deadly weapon . . . in a public place, in a manner calculated to alarm,” a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 1 year of unsupervised probation with continued anger management treatment.
- Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement not to seek, request, or accept any elected or appointed judicial office, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission resolved its investigation of allegations that a former chief magistrate judge had committed the offenses of criminal trespass, terroristic threats, and violation of his oath of office by entering onto another’s property without permission, taking peas from the garden without the owner’s permission, and threatening to assault the owner when confronted. In re Anderson, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission August 11, 2022). According to a press release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, in July, the judge had been arrested and charged following the incident. According to news reports, the judge said he had permission from a relative of the property owner to take the produce but acknowledged that, when the property owner called him, he told the man, “If you meet me out there in the middle of the road, I’ll kick your a**.”
- Based on a stipulation and agreement that included the judge’s resignation, affirmation that she will not seek office or accept judicial office or perform judicial duties in Indiana state courts, and relinquishment of her law license for 150 days, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications concluded its investigation of allegations that had also resulted in the judge being charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child. In the Matter of Bell, Stipulation and agreement (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications July 25, 2022). The judge had been suspended with pay after the criminal charges were filed in May 2022.
- Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court permanently disqualified a former judge from judicial service and publicly censured him for offensively touching a client’s representative in his private law office and “pervasive dishonesty” when testifying before the Committee. In the Matter of Falcone, 278 A.3d 782 (New Jersey 2022). In September 2019, the Court had suspended the judge without pay following his arrest on a charge of criminal sexual contact and referred the judge to the Committee, which, consistent with its standing policy, held the matter pending the conclusion of the criminal case. In May 2021, the criminal charges were dismissed after the judge complied with the conditions of the pretrial intervention program.
- Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that she has vacated her office and will not seek or accept judicial office, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter against a former judge who had been convicted by a jury on federal charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to a federal agent. In the Matter of Ash, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2022). The stipulation notes that the Commission’s investigation had been held in abeyance pending resolution of the charges. The judge had served as chair of the board of the Municipal Credit Union while also serving as a judge, and, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York following her conviction, the judge had attempted to protect the former chief executive officer of the credit union during a federal law enforcement investigation by signing a false and misleading memorandum purporting to justify millions of dollars the CEO had received from the credit union, wiping data from the iPhone and 2 iPads she had received from the credit union, falsely stating that she did not have any materials responsive to a subpoena, and making multiple false statements during an interview with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
- Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that she will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded its investigation of a former non-lawyer judge for failing to report to the State Comptroller moneys that she had received for the town court in connection with her duties as town justice. In the Matter of Inman, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 16, 2022). The stipulation noted that the subject of the Commission’s investigation was related to state grand larceny charges filed against the judge in March 2021.
- Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a former judge for committing assault in the third degree with sexual motivation and assault in the fourth degree with sexual motivation against subordinate court staff. In re Gallina, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 9, 2022). In April 2019, the judge had been arrested on felony charges of rape, assault, and indecent liberties, went on administrative leave, and did not serve as a judge since that date. The Commission received additional complaints following media accounts of the arrest and charges. On April 4, 2022, the judge pled guilty to reduced charges.
- Granting a petition for consensual license revocation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court revoked the license of a former judge after he pled guilty to 2 federal felony counts of distributing child pornography while he was serving as a judge in the children’s division of the circuit court. In the Matter of Blomme, 982 N.W.2d 100 (Wisconsin 2022).