Recent cases

  • The Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended a judge’s salary for 3 months and publicly censured him for, while on the bench and dressed in his judicial robe, threatening that he would take action against the defendant in a traffic ticket case if she sued his adult son, losing his temper, yelling profanity, and calling the defendant disparaging names; the Court also ordered the judge to complete 12 hours of judicial education, issue a formal written apology to the defendant, and pay costs.  In the Matter of Price, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary June 15, 2021).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for repeatedly failing to abide by administrative orders regarding the use of face coverings in court facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and for refusing to regularly review his court emails; the Commission also ordered the judge to review a podcast about pandemic-related issues and the duty to abide by administrative orders presented in August 2020 to justice court judges. Goodman, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 13, 2021).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for speaking sharply to court staff when she was disconnected from a Zoom hearing and yelling when lawyers and parties were allowed into the courtroom prior to the scheduled time for a case in a separate incident; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete the courses “Leadership for Judges” and “Mindfulness for Judges” offered by the National Judicial College. Quickle, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 11, 2021).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to issue a timely ruling in 1 case and signing a payroll certification while knowing that the ruling was overdue. Jantzen, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 11, 2021).
  • Accepting the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission based on an agreement, the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for asking a public defender if she was going to file another complaint against him if he did not accept a plea negotiation; the Court held 60 days of the suspension in abeyance for 1 year conditioned on the judge attending a class on mindfulness, patience, or civility, on the judge consulting with a counselor or life coach about how to treat the professionals appearing in his court, and on the Commission receiving no complaints that result in public charges or agreed discipline. Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission v. Sims (Arkansas Supreme Court June 3, 2021).
  • Accepting a motion for consent discipline based on a joint stipulation and memorandum, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a Supreme Court Justice for a meeting that interfered with and/or had the potential to interfere with the relationship between a candidate in a highly contested campaign for a different seat on the Court and a worker in the candidate’s campaign. In re Hughes (Louisiana Supreme Court June 30, 2021).
  • Adopting in part the recommendations, findings, and conclusions of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court imposed a 6-year suspension without pay on a former judge if he is elected or appointed to judicial office during the next 6 years for (1) while he was a prosecutor, depositing county funds into his and his family’s personal bank accounts and failing to keep any records related to those funds; (2) pleading no-contest to a crime and subsequently making false statements about the plea; (3) failing to disclose his relationships with 3 attorneys when he presided over cases in which they appeared or to disqualify himself from those cases; and (4) testifying falsely before the Commission. In re Konschuh, Order (Michigan Supreme Court June 11, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded an investigation of allegations that a non-lawyer judge had conveyed the impression of bias against LGBTQ individuals and publicly posted on his personal Facebook page anti-LGBTQ content, expressions of anti-Muslim bias, partisan political content, expressions of bias in favor of law enforcement and against criminal defendants, and commentary on pending cases, including the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. In the Matter of Knutsen, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 10, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that she has vacated her office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded an investigation of allegations that the judge had (1) pushed a county assistant district attorney outside her courtroom one evening when court was in session and the courtroom was full of lawyers, litigants, and others; (2) accused a different county assistant district attorney of being “anti-Semitic” when they would not offer a lenient plea to an associate of the judge’s husband in a traffic matter; (3) turned court audio recording equipment on and off in the middle of proceedings; (4) presided over and took pleas in traffic matters without an assistant district attorney present; (5) locked the court while she traveled to prevent the associate village court justice from presiding over matters in her absence; (6) exhibited inappropriate demeanor on the bench and in interactions with assistant district attorneys and other attorneys and litigants; and (7) a matter revealed in an audit of the court’s finances. In the Matter of Fishkin, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 10, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a complaint alleging that a non-lawyer judge, who took office in January 2020, had (1) continued to work as town justice despite failing to attend the Office of Court Administration training program for town and village court judges, failing to pass the required examination, and failing to be certified as required by court rules and (2) failed to cooperate in the Commission investigation. In the Matter of Novak, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 11, 2021).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission, which was based on stipulations, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for a pattern of inappropriate and sexual communications on Facebook with numerous women, many of whom were involved in matters pending in his district; engaging in these communications while on the bench in the courtroom; taking frequent breaks, frequently continuing cases, and frequently recusing himself to have conversations or physical encounters with the women he contacted on Facebook; making misrepresentations and misusing the prestige of office to solicit assistance from law enforcement during an investigation of an attempt to extort him by one of the women; and making material misrepresentations to the Commission. In re Pool (North Carolina Supreme Court June 11, 2021).
  • Based on its findings of misconduct, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for (1) failing to file opinions in 24 appeals within the fast track time limits established by court rule in dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings; (2) incarcerating parents for contempt without a legal basis in 3 cases; detaining parents in holding cells with the threat of longer incarceration without a legal basis in 2 cases; threatening to incarcerate parents in the absence of any evidence of contempt in 1 case; and improperly holding an attorney in civil contempt; (3) in numerous dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings, exhibiting an angry, arrogant, demeaning, rude, dismissive, condescending, callous, and impatient demeanor; (4) repeatedly failing to accord the right to be heard to parents and guardians, to lawyers representing parents and guardians, and to the Department of Human Services; deciding issues without hearing testimony or holding hearings; refusing to admit medical reports; repeatedly interrupting testimony; and rushing a non-placement review hearing; and (5) during several dependency hearings, applying the standard for permanency hearings. In re Younge, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline June 2, 2021). The Court also placed the judge on probation until the end of her current term in January 2026; prohibited the judge from serving in the family court division during her probation; ordered the judge to consult with a mentor; and ordered her to write and deliver a letter of apology to each person she wronged.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for setting “no bond” on a misdemeanor motion to revoke probation without addressing the statutory factors for setting bail and for engaging in impermissible ex parte communications with the probationer and others concerning the merits of the proceeding; the Commission also ordered that the judge receive 2 hours of additional education concerning judicial ethics and criminal procedure with a mentor. Public Admonition of Lilly and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 18, 2021).

Recent cases

  • Based on an agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly censured a judge for (1) leaving the bench while a public defender was questioning a witness during a hearing, refusing to let her make her record when she attempted to respond to an objection, and using a curt voice and displaying an alarming demeanor and (2) in a separate proceeding, making statements about the way a public defender was conducting voir dire, asking if her client had a defense, and stating that he would still accept a guilty plea.  Re Sims (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission May 21, 2021).
  • Approving a stipulated disposition, the Colorado Supreme Court accepted the retirement of a judge and publicly censured her for 2 convictions for driving under the influence.  In the Matter of Gunkel (Colorado Supreme Court May 13, 2021).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) telling community members that he was supporting an incumbent judge’s opponent in a judicial election and asking some of them to support his favored candidate, and (2) failing to designate a campaign account and treasurer with the Division of Elections before receiving campaign contributions or issuing funds, as required by the state campaign financing statute.  Inquiry Concerning Cupp (Florida Supreme Court May 13, 2021).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for attempting to dissuade a judicial candidate from running against an incumbent judge and to run against a different incumbent judge or not to run at all.  Inquiry Concerning Howard (Florida Supreme Court May 20, 2021).
  • Following a trial de novo, a Texas Special Court of Review affirmed the public admonition of a judge for approaching a legal assistant in his courtroom, touching her on the arm or shoulder, and admonishing her for sitting in a section of the courtroom reserved for attorneys; the Court also ordered the judge to complete 2 hours of instruction about decorum with a mentor.  In re Wilson (Texas Special Court of Review May 4, 2021).
  • Based on an agreement, which included the judge’s resignation, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for touching a court employee.  In the Matter of Cole, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 29, 2021).

Recent cases

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) displaying improper demeanor toward 2 criminal defense attorneys appearing by phone for an arraignment and (2) in a second case, making an inappropriate remark about the jury’s verdict to a defendant who had been acquitted.  In the Matter Concerning Connolly, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 2, 2021).
  • Based on a stipulation and the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Discipline, the Colorado Supreme Court accepted the resignation of a judge and publicly censured her for (1) saying the N-word in a conversation with a Black staff member; (2) expressing her views about criminal justice, police brutality, race, and racial bias while wearing her robe in court staff work areas and on the bench; (3) using court staff for personal tasks; and (4) referring to a judicial colleague with a derogatory term.  In the Matter of Chase, Order (Colorado Supreme Court April 16, 2021). 
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 7 days without pay for (1) requiring defendants in criminal cases to file written demands for jury trials; (2) making impatient, undignified, and discourteous comments to attorneys with the public defender’s office; and (3) in a proceeding with an unrepresented defendant, suggesting a plea agreement that could reasonably be perceived as coercive for the defendant.  In re Ruttle, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission April 7, 2021). 
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former judge; the Commission had apprised the judge that it was investigating allegations that he had attempted to have a purported friend’s pistol permit application assigned to himself and then initiated a conversation about the matter with the judge to whom the case had been assigned.  In the Matter of Carter, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former judge; prior to his resignation, the Commission had notified the judge that it was investigating complaints that he had (1) dismissed or reduced tickets in multiple cases for defendants with whom he had personal relationships; (2) repeatedly described female litigants and lawyers in demeaning and sexist terms; and (3) improperly used a security camera to record proceedings in his courtroom.  In the Matter of Gallanter, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former non-lawyer judge; before the judge resigned, the Commission had notified him that it was investigating complaints that he had repeatedly engaged in unauthorized ex parte communications and gave the appearance of bias in a small claims case.  In the Matter of Hartwell, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his 2 judicial offices and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a former judge who had pled guilty to criminal contempt in satisfaction of charges related to his violation of a stay-away order of protection held by a former girlfriend.  In the Matter of Miller, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for knowingly making materially false statements regarding a grant in a report filed with the court system and using unexpended grant funds to buy an audio-visual system even though he knew that the purchase was unauthorized.  In the Matter of Knab, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 28, 2021).
  • Adopting the findings and conclusions of the Judicial Standards Commission, based on a stipulation and agreement, the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for serving as executor for the estates of 2 former clients who were not members of his family, collecting substantial fees or commissions for such service, and failing to properly report that income.  In re Inquiry Concerning Brooks (North Carolina Supreme Court April 16, 2021).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement to be disqualified from judicial service in the state, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct agreed not to pursue further disciplinary proceedings against a former judge who had entered into orders of deferred adjudication of 3 felonies in 2 state criminal cases regarding a pyramid promotional scheme.  Velez, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 9, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for attending a luncheon hosted and paid for by a law firm involved in a highly contested civil case pending before her and set for post-judgment matters the following day and failing to disclose the luncheon to all parties in the litigation; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Phillips and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 9, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for orally ordering a defendant to perform community service without entering a written order and, when she failed to complete her community service, issuing a warrant for her arrest without giving her notice and an opportunity to be heard; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 4 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Issacs and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 9, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) while at the jail to magistrate an African-American defendant, stating that the defendant needs to be hung “with a f***ing noose around his neck” and (2) without jurisdiction, determining the right to possession of a trailer in an ex parte letter; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 11 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Reprimand of Baldwin and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 9, 2021).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) at the end of a calendar, declining to determine who was attempting to appear in court via Zoom; (2) failing to advise defendants at probation review hearings of their rights; (3) conducting an ex parte investigation into whether a defendant had performed community service hours and stating on the record that she intended to recommend significant jail time and further charges; (4) at arraignment hearings in 2 traffic offense cases, asking the defendants whether they had a valid driver’s license and how long it had been since they had a valid driver’s license; (5) as she sat on cases on the bench, regularly recommending specific businesses to defendants for re-licensing and insurance purposes related to their charges; and (6) regularly presiding over cases in which a notice of disqualification had previously been filed against her.  In re Burchett, Stipulation, agreement, and order of reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 23, 2021).

Recent cases

  • Granting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Maryland Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) her conviction on charges of driving while impaired by alcohol, speeding, negligent driving, reckless driving, and discarding trash outside of her car; (2) during the traffic stop, failing to be truthful and cooperative, injecting her judicial position, and mentioning the officer’s superior; and (3) failing to comply with the terms of a conditional diversion agreement and reprimand issued by the Commission and failing to cooperate during the investigation.  In the Matter of Nickerson, Per curiam order (Maryland Court of Appeals March 26, 2021). 
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for endorsing or opposing candidates for the presidency and U.S. Senate on his Facebook page by, for example, “liking” Donald J. Trump’s Facebook page, including photographs of himself piloting a boat in the Trump Boat parade, and “liking” a newspaper endorsement in the Senate race.  In the Matter of Quinn, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 9, 2021).
  • Based on a stipulation the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for, during voir dire in a criminal case, throwing a book against the wall and cursing, berating, yelling at, and threatening a prospective juror for expressing her belief that she could not be impartial, which led to reversal of the jury verdict on appeal.  In the Matter of Scotti, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 15, 2021).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for failing to maintain an IOLTA account and to maintain professional liability insuranceIn the Matter of Killen, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 11, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded an investigation of allegations that a non-lawyer judge (1) had repeatedly sent text messages to his then-girlfriend that contained threats about a former girlfriend and that were “vulgar, crude, demeaning and/or featured extreme gender-based slurs and profanity;” and (2) after arraigning a defendant, repeatedly engaged in unauthorized ex parte communications with the defendant and other individuals and, during one of the defendant’s appearances in court, advised the defendant how to avoid having his firearms confiscated by law enforcement.  In the Matter of DiVietro, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for posting on his Facebook page 2 photographs of himself wearing a sheriff’s uniform and comments expressing his appreciation for law enforcement officers and describing his appearance at a “Back the Blue” event.  In the Matter of Peck, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 19, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for editing political opinion essays and letters to the editor intended and/or submitted for publication by a candidate for non-judicial elected town office and offering advice by email to the candidate about issues raised in his proposed submissions.  In the Matter of Rana, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 19, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for finding a friend not guilty of a traffic violation without a trial, plea, or appearance and asking a police officer to dismiss a ticket issued to his brother-in-law.  In the Matter of Mendelsohn (South Carolina Supreme Court March 31, 2021).
  • Based on the magistrate’s agreement to resign and never seek judicial office again, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished the former magistrate for making numerous inappropriate sexual, homophobic, and racist comments to 2 individuals verbally and by text message and sending indecent photos, cartoons, and at least 1 video by text message.  Public Admonishment of Poe (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission March 12, 2021).

Recent cases

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a former judge for (1) treating parents and others in a harsh and discourteous manner in 10 dependency hearings; and (2) on consecutive days, yelling at court staff and displaying frustration about an internet outage and discourteously raising her voice to another judge.  Public Admonishment of Roberts (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 18, 2021).
  • With the judge’s approval, the Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct ordered a judge to cease and desist from failing to perform judicial duties competently and diligently and from delaying his decisions.  Inquiry Concerning Tate, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct January 20, 2021).
  • Affirming the findings of fact and conclusions of law of a panel of the Commission on Judicial Conduct following a hearing, the Kansas Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 1 year for (1) frequently using the word “f**k” and its derivatives when speaking at the courthouse; (2) using derogatory terms when referring to women; and (3) using the phrase “Kansas boy” to describe a young black male defendant; the Court stayed the suspension for 60 days for the judge to submit a plan for counseling and training.  In the Matter of Cullins (Kansas Supreme Court February 26, 2021).
  • Based on an agreement and stipulated facts, the Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct ordered that a former judge cease and desist from inappropriately using the prestige of judicial office and acting in a manner that does not promote confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and to continue his retirement and not hold a judicial office in the future; the judge had asked the county sheriff’s office not to service a summons/petition in a divorce case and had a profane and threatening conversation with an undersheriff about the incident.  Inquiry Concerning Smith, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct February 25, 2021).
  • Adopting in part the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a statement of stipulated facts and conclusions of law, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 2 years without pay for grabbing the buttocks of a waitress at his bachelor party while intoxicated and failing to cooperate with police, for which he had been convicted of several misdemeanors; the Court deferred all but 6 months of the suspension and the 6 months was made retroactive to the date of his suspension as an attorney; the deferral was subject to the judge successfully completing a 5-year Judges and Lawyers Assistance Programs monitoring agreement.  In re Hardee, Opinion (Louisiana Supreme Court January 27, 2021).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly admonished a judge for acting in a manner unbecoming a judicial officer towards court staff and the chief judge on numerous occasions.  In the Matter of Earley, Stipulation and order (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline January 21, 2021).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge for 10 months without pay for, during and after a criminal trial, failing to follow fundamental principles of criminal procedure; “fashion[ing] a remedy outside of accepted statutory and ethical norms” without entering guilty findings; using an expletive when the court administrator advised her that there was no authority for her disposition; engaging in “combative” ex parte communications when the defendants did not meet their restitution obligations; and suggesting that the victim file a civil suit against the defendants; the suspension was made retroactive to the date of the judge’s temporary suspension, and her resumption of duties was conditioned on her compliance with a plan regarding professional development.  In the Matter of Rasul, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court February 16, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a non-lawyer judge who had pled guilty to criminal mischief for keying a town official’s vehicle in a parking lot, “apparently in reaction to the town’s denial of his request to provide health insurance.”  In the Matter of Burker, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 28, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that she vacated her office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a proceeding against a judge who had been charged in a formal written complaint with, inter alia, presiding “notwithstanding a disqualifying conflict with a party or witness but fail[ing] to disclose and/or recuse herself as required.”  In the Matter of Ward, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 28, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s affirmation that he has vacated his office and will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded its investigation of allegations that a non-lawyer judge had, between December 2019 and March 2020, engaged in inappropriate conduct in his courthouse that was inconsistent with his ethical obligations to act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary and to conduct his extra-judicial activities so as not to detract from the dignity of his judicial office and had failed to respond to the Commission inquiry.  In the Matter of Cunningham, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 28, 2021).
  • Based on her agreement to resign and not seek an appointed or elected judicial office in the future, the Tennessee Judicial Conduct Board agreed not to pursue formal charges against a judicial commissioner for discourteously and intemperately injecting herself into a criminal case involving a family member.  In re Tomlinson (Tennessee Judicial Conduct Board February 1, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for, in a post-judgement collection matter, improperly issuing a show cause order for a defendant based on the plaintiff’s oral motion for contempt and failing to ensure that the defendant had notice and an opportunity to respond to the motion; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 4 hours of education with a mentor.  Public Reprimand of Jones and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 28, 2021), appealed to special court of review.
  • Following a hearing, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for appearing in bus advertisements for a college that identified him as a judge.  In re Keenan, Decision and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2021).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for comments she made on her Facebook page about a pharmacist arrested for destroying COVID-19 vaccine dosages and about the siege at the U.S. Capitol.  In the Matter of Jackson, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission February 24, 2021).

Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to rule for approximately 3 months on a contested order of protection and periodically filing certifications that he had no pending or undetermined cause for more than 60 days.  Guzman, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 17, 2020).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) stating that he would “keep” a defendant who had not appeared for trial after issuing a warrant for his arrest; (2) keeping campaign materials in his judicial office and distributing nail files that stated “Bruce Staggs – Justice of the Peace, Benson JP Court” during court hours; (3) in a minute order, stating, “The Mormon’s [sic] the Court are [sic] associated with are good people that live up to their responsibilities;” (4) discussing a social medial post that criticized him in a minute order; (5) referring to female employees with the generic term of “woman” and telling a female employee “you’re unzipped,” in reference to the zippers on the ankle/calf of her pants and then commenting that he “wondered if he would get the same reaction if he were unzipped.”  Staggs, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 17, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation and conditioned on the former judge’s agreement not to serve in a judicial capacity in the future, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely admonished a former judge for his continuing failure to disclose his personal relationship with an attorney even after being publicly admonished for failing to do so in 2019; his lack of candor in 2 responses to the Commission; and his discourtesy to the district attorney in 1 case.  In the Matter Concerning Mason, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 9, 2020).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Discipline based on a stipulation and agreement, the Colorado Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge based on his guilty plea to federal charges related to his disclosure of non-public, confidential information to his friends while serving as a magistrate and judge.  In the Matter of Kamada (Colorado Supreme Court December 7, 2020).
  • Based on his agreement not to seek judicial office in the future, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission disposed of a complaint that a judge had engaged in behavior towards employees that constituted harassment based on gender and/or sex.  In re Jordan, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission December 11, 2020).
  • Approving a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court permanently barred a former magistrate from judicial service based on his guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine and resisting arrest; the Court also suspended the former magistrate from the practice of law for 1 year with the first 90 days served as an active suspension and the balance stayed subject to his successful completion of at least 2 years of probation.  In the Matter of Greenaway (Indiana Supreme Court December 4, 2020).
  • Affirming the decision of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the removal of a judge for (1) coercing members of her guardian ad litem panel to donate the maximum amount to her campaign and to use personal time to campaign on her behalf; using court staff to work on her campaign during work hours; and taking steps to conceal HER conduct; (2) retaliating against an attorney for failing to campaign on her behalf by removing him from the guardian ad litem panel following the election;(3) forcing her case manager to resign to create a job opening for Stephen Penrose because she and Penrose were engaged in a personal, sexual relationship, not on the basis of merit; engaging in inappropriate workplace behavior with Penrose during work hours; and improperly delegating judicial functions to Penrose; (4) approving timesheets for staff members that she knew did not accurately reflect the hours those employees worked; leaving the courthouse on numerous occasions with staff members during regular court hours; permitting Penrose to play his guitar and sing in his office during work hours; and permitting staff member to store and consume alcoholic beverages in court offices; (5) directing school liaison officers to file school dependency, neglect, and abuse cases only once a month and to file certain petitions as truancy cases rather than dependency, neglect, and abuse cases, and, when one of those officers followed her employer’s instructions regarding how to file such cases, retaliating against her, referring to her as a “b***h,” and refusing to recuse from her cases; (6) making inappropriate sexual advances toward an attorney, sending one of her guardian ad litem panel attorneys to speak with the attorney, refusing to recuse from cases in which the attorney represented a party, and engaging in Snapchat conversations with members of her guardian ad litem panel and Penrose, some of which were sexual in nature; (7) appointing personal friends who supported her campaign to represent individuals seeking de facto custodian status without requiring those individuals to come to court to receive appointments; (8) failing to be candid and honest with the Commission regarding the termination of her case manager, the removal of the attorney from the guardian ad litem panel, and her relationship with Penrose; and (9) filing a bar complaint against an attorney in retaliation for her cooperation with the Commission investigation.  Gentry v. Judicial Conduct Commission (Kentucky Supreme Court December 17, 2020).
  • Affirming the Judicial Conduct Commission’s finding of fact, conclusions of law, and final order, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the public reprimand of a former judge for intervening on behalf of her ex-husband after he was arrested and for sending an ex parte text to a Commission member just before her hearing.  Maze v. Judicial Conduct Commission (Kentucky Supreme Court December 17, 2020).
  • The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the Commission on Judicial Discipline’s admonishment of a hearing master for ignoring an attorney’s objections to her questioning of a juvenile defendant, yelling repeatedly at the attorney, preventing the attorney from making a record, threatening to report the attorney, and attempting to pressure the minor into answering her questions directly; the Commission had also ordered the hearing master to complete additional education.  In the Matter of Henry (Nevada Supreme Court December 23, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for publicly supporting the teachers at her daughter’s school in litigation against the board of education by publicly commenting about issues and individuals involved in the litigation in person, by email, and on social media platforms in which she was publicly identified as a judge; providing legal information and advice to parents at the school; signing advocacy letters; speaking about the cases with members of the board of education; joining teacher union counsel outside the courtroom prior to a case conference; and executing an affidavit that was filed in the litigation.  In the Matter of Panepinto, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 9, 2020)
  • Adopting the findings of the Judicial Standards Commission, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a court of appeals judge for contributing to, enabling, and ignoring the toxic work environment in his chambers created by his executive assistant/law clerk, who was his close personal friend, and displaying a reckless disregard for the truth and downplaying the seriousness of his friend’s misconduct to the Commission and the administrative office of the courts.  In re Inquiry Concerning Murphy (North Carolina Supreme Court December 18, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission, which were based on a stipulation of facts, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for knowingly proceeding with a defendant’s probable cause hearing without the defendant’s counsel present to “make a point” about the lawyer’s failure to appear in court at the time the judge had directed.  In re Inquiry Concerning Clontz (North Carolina Supreme Court December 18, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings of the Board of Professional Conduct, which were based on stipulations and evidence presented at a hearing, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate from the practice of law for 6 months for summarily holding a woman who screamed in the hallway outside his courtroom in contempt, and, when she protested, increasing her jail sentence to 10 days.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Bachman (Ohio Supreme Court December 18, 2020).
  • With the judge’s acceptance, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for “conducting judicial business outside the parameters of the COVID-19” plan for his judicial district as approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court and commenting to a court audience that he “wished Chief Justice Jeff Bivens would win an award so that the COVID-19 mandates” would end.  Hinson (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct December 15, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for allowing a PAC to use his name, title, and likeness in materials that supported the campaigns of other Democratic candidates for public office as well as his own.  Public Warning of Molberg (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 3, 2020), on appeal to special court of review.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for (1) during a public meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court, wearing a pink knitted beanie with cat ears referred to as a “pussy hat” and (2) during a panel at the Texas Tribune Festival, stating that Governor Abbott, who is paralyzed from the waist down, “hates trees because one fell on him.”  Public Admonition of Eckhard (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2020), on appeal to special court of review.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for publicly endorsing a candidate for county tax assessor-collector.  Public Warning of Cox (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for using the English and Spanish slurs for undocumented immigrants from Mexico in a conversation with his court reporter; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of additional instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Luitjen (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for initiating and permitting ex parte communications with the district attorney’s office about the merits of a defendant’s motion for a new trial in a criminal case.  Public Admonition of Luitjen (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2020).
  • Based on stipulated facts and conclusions of law, the Vermont Judicial Conduct Board publicly reprimanded a judge for leveraging his position as a part-time probate judge to gain an advantage for a client with a matter pending in his court’s criminal division and attempting to do so for a second client.  In re Cobb, Stipulated public reprimand with order (Vermont Judicial Conduct Board December 24, 2020).

Recent cases

  • Accepting the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on stipulations, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for yelling and waving his arms at people in the lobby outside his courtroom while trying to get them to be quiet and threatening one of them with contempt.  Inquiry Concerning Miller (Florida Supreme Court November 5, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings of the Judiciary Commission and agreeing with its findings, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a justice of the peace from office for being unavailable and unresponsive to the constable and citizens in his jurisdiction, failing to take any action on an eviction filing and to refund the unearned filing fee, and failing to cooperate with the Commission.  In re King (Louisiana Supreme Court November 19, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for failing to recuse herself from cases in which the landlord for her law office appeared on behalf of clients.  In the Matter of Munoz (New Jersey Supreme Court November 23, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for (1) on his personal Facebook page during his campaign, posting memes that propounded conspiracy theories, making disrespectful and undignified comments about laws he would be sworn to uphold as a sitting judge, and endorsing a candidate for the town council and (2) while a judge, posting comments on his personal Facebook page about the release on bond of a defendant he had arraigned, linking to articles critical of bail decisions in other cases, and commenting on one of those cases.  In the Matter of Schmidt, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 3, 2020).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline ordered that the pay withheld from a former judge since his suspension in August be permanently withheld and that his resignation and pledge not to serve be binding and irrevocable based on his stipulation to the facts in a complaint filed by the Judicial Conduct Board alleging he (1) in a post-trial conversation with the attorneys in a criminal case, referred to a juror as “Aunt Jemima” and said that she had a “baby daddy” at home “slinging heroin,” referred to a second juror as a “knucklehead,” and criticized the seating of a juror whose daughter was a public defender; (2) made insulting remarks to the parents in a custody case and affected a manner of speech referred to as “Ebonics;” and (3) made improper comments during sentencing in 2 cases.  In re Tranquilli, Order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline November 19, 2020). 
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for (1) her Facebook activities in support of a friend’s campaign for city council and (2) a court clerk’s acceptance of a donation to her campaign at the courthouse; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Woodard and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 28, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for publicly disparaging another judge’s bond determination on Facebook and referring to the other judge’s family in doing so; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Crow and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 28, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for failing to timely set, hear, decide, and sign a judgement creditor’s post-judgment motions and to timely refer his motion to recuse; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Hall and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 28, 2020), on appeal to special court of review.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to comply with the law before holding an attorney in contempt; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Richter and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 28, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for (1) removing a campaign sign from his neighbor’s property and his interview with the media about the incident; (2) instructing his staff not to accept applications for writs of possession after 3:30 p.m. or before 10:30 a.m.; (3) failing to forward a notice of appeal of the denial of a pauper’s affidavit to the county court and issuing a writ of possession after the appellant had timely perfected his appeal; and (4) failing to timely submit a response to staff’s letters of inquiry.  Public Admonition of Metzger (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 12, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for ordering the clerk’s office not to accept a plaintiffs’ motion to reopen a case; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 1 hour of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Bosworth (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 12, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for “an intermittent pattern of intolerant and intemperate behavior” and using profanity, epithets, and slurs in the courtroom; the judge also agreed to participate in 2 hours of ethics training and to participate in behavioral coaching.  In re Wilson, Stipulation, agreement, and order (November 20, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for telling a defendant with “idiosyncratic beliefs about the court system” to leave the courtroom and then ordering his arrest for contempt for “constructively” failing to appear and disruptive behavior; the judge was also ordered to complete at least 2 hours of training.  In re Jurado, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 20, 2020).

Recent cases

  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s retirement and agreement not to serve in a judicial capacity in the future, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for intruding into the charging authority of the district attorney, questioning a deputy district attorney about the filing of a peremptory challenge, choosing a successor judge to handle a case after his disqualification, engaging in improper ex parte communications with the district attorney, and engaging in conduct toward the district attorney that was discourteous and conveyed the appearance of bias, embroilment, and prejudgment.  In the Matter Concerning Tamietti, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 14, 2020) .
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) interrogating a witness in a hostile manner in a civil jury trial, making sarcastic remarks, and mishandling the witness’s assertion of her privilege against self-incrimination, and (2) questioning the parties and counsel in an injudicious manner in a quiet title action.  In the Matter Concerning Roesch, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 15, 2020).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the removal of a judge for (1) engaging in a pattern of inappropriate behavior toward court staff, including unwelcome comments of a sexual nature; (2) allowing his court secretary to prepare a letter to obtain payment for legal work he performed prior to becoming a full-time judge; and (3) failing to file timely and accurate disclosure reports of his income from his extra-judicial activities with the IRS, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the Ethics Commission for the Unified Court System, and the clerk of the court.  In the Matter of Miller (New York Court of Appeals October 15, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for revoking a defendant’s probation without having the probation officer sworn in before testifying, denying the defendant the right to present evidence, and denying an appeal bond; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 additional hours of education.  Public Admonition of Christian and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for refusing to allow a defendant’s counsel access to the defendant’s court records and providing the police chief an interoffice memo about the case ex parte; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 4 additional hours of instruction.  Public Admonition of Del Carmen and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making a phone call on his aunt’s behalf to determine the whereabouts of a horse and exhibiting poor demeanor during the call; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 additional hours of education.  Public Admonition of Foley and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for speaking publicly about a domestic violence victim during a political forum.  Public Reprimand of Howard (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for requesting that law enforcement officers target and issue traffic citations to commercial vehicles associated with a solar farm project that was next to property owned by her family and making racially insensitive comments about people of Mexican descent in her communications with law enforcement officers; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Plaster and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2020).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for going to the homes of litigants to determine if they had in their possession disputed marital personal property and/or to supervise the transfer of the items.  In the Matter of Shuck, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 25, 2020).

Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for telling court staff that he left the priesthood because there was “no pan ocha [sic],” which he believed meant “brown sugar” but which is slang for the female anatomy.  Pollard, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 15, 2020).
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for intemperate conduct in 2 criminal cases on the same date.  In re Conley, Public reprimand (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 9, 2020).
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 14 days without pay for failing to recuse herself from a case involving an attorney whom she accused of stealing from her husband, threatening that the attorney was “not going to be conflicted out forever,” and improperly pressuring the clerk and another judge to refuse to provide a video of the proceeding to the attorney.  In re Dutton, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 4, 2020).
  • Granting a joint motion for approval of a recommendation, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, publicly reprimanded her, and fined her $1,000 for (1) initiating improper ex parte communications with a third party to investigate a pending civil matter, (2) failing to comply with the statutory limits on money judgments in justice court, and (3) retaliating against a court clerk for filing a complaint with the Commission.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bozeman (Mississippi Supreme Court September 24, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly admonished a judge for giving a “Gag Order, Esquire” patch to a female judge and 4 female staff members and stating during a meeting that the other judge had “erotic” or “risqué” coloring books in her chambers.  In the Matter of Potter, Stipulation and order of consent to public admonishment (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline September 30, 2020).
  • Accepting a stipulation based the judge’s resignation and his affirmation that he will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct terminated a proceeding against a judge; following a hearing on a formal complaint, a referee had found that the judge (1) had approximately 10 conversations with a court employee in and outside the workplace about his campaign for surrogate, repeatedly asking her to consider working on his campaign even after she declined; (2) kissed the employee twice in his chambers without her consent when her transfer was announced; (3) expressed interest in dating a second court employee several times and kissed her 3 times on the cheek without her consent after she told him that her father had been diagnosed with cancer; and (4) falsely denied in his deposition during the Commission investigation that he had expressed romantic interest in the second employee.  In the Matter of Hanuszczak, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 17, 2020).
  • Accepting a stipulation based the judge’s resignation and his affirmation that he will not seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct terminated a proceeding against a judge; the Commission had notified the judge that it was investigating complaints that his demeanor toward and treatment of his court clerks caused 3 or 4 of them to resign and that he had warned residents of a youth home of the consequences of misbehavior at the home, including the possibility of jail time, in the absence of counsel for the youth, while presiding over their cases.  In the Matter of Madden, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 21, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer for issuing a warrant of eviction against a tenant after an ex parte proceeding even though neither the judge nor the tenant had been presented with a notice of petition, a petition, or an affidavit of service as required by law; calling the tenant a “deadbeat;” and failing to record the proceeding.  In the Matter of Knopf, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 23, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings and recommended sanction of the Board of Professional Conduct, based on stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months for interfering in a case assigned to another judge involving the incarcerated boyfriend of the daughter of his friends, engaging in ex parte communications with the boyfriend, and “orchestrating” his release on a recognizance bond 2 days before his scheduled arraignment; the Court stayed the suspension conditioned on the judge completing 2 hours of CLE on judicial ethics and engaging in no further misconduct.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Goulding (Ohio Supreme Court September 29, 2020).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for stating that, “the Grand Wizard of our Supreme Court said we have to wear these masks,” or words to that effect, to a courtroom audience of criminal defendants, some of whom were African-American.  Re Ledsinger (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct September 28, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for independently investigating allegations by 2 defense attorneys in a murder trial that another attorney had sent their client an anonymous letter, summoning the attorney to court without notice and questioning her, and holding a second proceeding about the allegations without the attorney present.  Public Admonition of Contreras (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2020), on appeal.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for displaying a handgun during a public confrontation in a residential neighborhood, contrary to Texas law.  Public Reprimand of Williams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2020).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for approaching a paralegal in the courtroom, grabbing her arm or elbow, and admonishing her for sitting in a section of the courtroom reserved for attorneys; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Wilson (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2020), on appeal.
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and agreement to be disqualified from judicial service in the state, the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct agreed not to pursue disciplinary proceedings against a former judge; the Commission had received a complaint alleging that the judge had denied an attorney access to his client prior to and at magistration and, during its investigation, learned that the judge had been serving as a full-time licensed police officer since July 2015.  Martinez, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 23, 2020).

Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to issue a ruling in a dissolution case for almost 6 months and signing payroll certifications that did not reflect the matter as pending for more than 60 days. Astrowsky, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 19, 2020).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify herself from cases involving an attorney against whom she appeared to be biased and prejudiced and failing to comply with disclosure and waiver requirements in cases involving the police department where her husband is a sergeant. Gregory, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 19, 2020).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for using his judicial title/status in posts on the Facebook page for his campaign for sheriff. Barth, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 10, 2020).
  • Based on the findings of 3 masters, the California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a justice on the court of appeal from office for (1) engaging in a pattern of unwelcome, undignified, discourteous, and offensive conduct toward a female appellate justice that would reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment, including multiple instances of unwanted touching; (2) making comments to a female highway patrol officer about her appearance and making comments to her that were unflattering about his wife; (3) engaging in unwelcome, undignified, and discourteous behavior toward 2 female research attorneys that would reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment; (4) engaging in inappropriate conduct toward 2 female judicial assistants, a female research attorney, and a female appellate justice; (5) displaying poor demeanor toward a female appellate justice, a female judicial assistant, a female research attorney, and a male research attorney; (6) engaging in a pattern of conduct toward 5 female attorneys who did not work for the court that demeaned the judicial office and lent the prestige of office to advance his personal interests; (7) appearing to be under the influence of alcohol on 7 occasions, 5 of which were at the courthouse late at night; and (8) using profanity to refer to 2 female justices when speaking to highway patrol officers. Inquiry Concerning Johnson, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 2, 2020).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a part-time judge from office for repeatedly using degrading, profane, vulgar, and sexist language in emails with 2 clients that insulted their daughter, opposing counsel, and the presiding court attorney referee, including using “an extremely crude gender-based slur to describe opposing counsel.” In the Matter of Senzer (New York Court of Appeals June 23, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to render decisions in 6 small claims cases for between 5 and 47 months, long after the time required by statute. In the Matter of Corretore, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 22, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for commenting about pending criminal charges and making disparaging comments about the defendant on 3 different dates in his courtroom, outside the presence of the defendant and his attorney. In the Matter of Pebler, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 17, 2020).
  • Accepting an agreed statement and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, on 3 occasions, making inappropriate comments to and about lawyers and others and failing to disqualify himself from a probation violation matter after expressing negative views regarding the Department of Probation, a probation department employee, and an employee of the Department of Health. In the Matter of Gerber, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 27, 2020).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Board of Professional Conduct, which were based on a stipulation, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving while under the influence of alcohol and making repeated non-responsive references to his judicial office after being stopped by a law enforcement officer. Disciplinary Counsel v. Gonzalez (Ohio Supreme Court June 11, 2020).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for expressing his opposition to a building permit in emails to city officials that were sent from his work email address and identified him as a judge in the signature block; the judge also agreed to complete 1 hour of training. In re Lucas, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 26, 2020).
  • Approving a resolution proposed by a special committee, the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit publicly admonished a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for the first 2 sentences of a law review article he wrote entitled, “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy,” which was published in the Harvard Law Review. Resolution of Complaints Against Adelman (7th Circuit Judicial Council June 22, 2020).