Recent cases

  • Approving a stipulation, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) using his title, court resources, and a report prepared for the court to promote a non-profit organization he had created, having board members who were affiliated with private companies that did business with his court and stood to profit from the non-profit organization’s success, misleading court employees to induce their participation in the organization’s launch, and prevaricating with the court’s presiding judges in discussions about the organization; (2) failing to fully apprise criminal defendants of their rights, which coerced the defendants into participating in treatment court; (3) making remarks to defendants that created the appearance of bias, failing to safeguard the right to counsel for an unrepresented defendant, and threatening a deputy public defender with contempt when she objected; (4) exhibiting poor demeanor to the district attorney; (5) engaging in ex parte communications about, and embroiling himself with, 2 parole re-entry court defendants, and engaging in another ex parte communication with court staff about a criminal defendant; and (6) discussing a represented defendant’s conduct, the defendant’s alleged refusal to participate in a program in good faith, and an appropriate response by the court, without including either defense counsel or the deputy district attorney.  In the Matter of Vlavianos, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 8, 2023).
  • Accepting a joint petition for consent discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for (1) mishandling a contempt proceeding against an attorney, filing an unsolicited per curiam in the appellate court regarding his contempt finding and sentence, and mishandling recusal procedures in other cases involving the attorney and (2) improper ex parte communications with a litigant and failing to expeditiously recuse himself from the matter.  In re Bradbury (Louisiana Supreme Court February 24, 2023).
  • Based on stipulated facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 60 days, fined him $1,500, and publicly reprimanded him for summoning 2 police officers to his courtroom and publicly chastising and embarrassing them about a discussion about one of his clients several days earlier at his private law office.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Moore (Mississippi Supreme Court February 16, 2023).
  • Based on the magistrate’s resignation and agreement not to seek judicial office in the state, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for (1) his efforts to get dogs that had been seized from a hot vehicle immediately released to the owners without the required hearing; (2) his intemperate conduct toward a deputy magistrate court clerk; (3) unwanted hugging or touching people; (4) inappropriate use of his court cell phone; and (5) being routinely late for court.  Public Admonishment of Gaujot (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission February 28, 2023) ().

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