Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for sua sponte dismissing 2 lawsuits in violation of the law and failing to submit a thorough response to the Commission. Cornejo, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 24, 2022).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days for a pattern of injudicious comments to defendants on irrelevant factors such as their appearance, background, ethnicity, and whether they lived in the county; the Court also ordered that he never again hold judicial office after his current term ends on December 31, 2024, but held 75 days of the suspension in abeyance subject to conditions.  Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission v. Bourne, Per curiam (Arkansas Supreme Court August 9, 2022).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly censured a judge for a pattern of failing to consider the legal standard for appointing the public defender for misdemeanor defendantsBourne, Letter of censure and recommendation of suspension (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission August 1, 2022). 
  • 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 (Colorado Supreme Court August 29, 2022).
  • Accepting a discipline by consent agreement and the recommendation of the hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days without pay and ordered that she be publicly reprimanded for (1) from September 2015 through February 2018, regularly arriving to work at the courthouse much later than when she was scheduled to preside over court matters; (2) being absent from work approximately 40 days in 2016, 63 days in 2017, and 19 days from January 1 through July 17, 2018; and (3) refusing to provide at least 6 in-custody defendants their opportunity to appear in court to which they were entitled by law, resulting in their remaining incarcerated for days after they would have been entitled to release.  Inquiry Concerning Gundy (Georgia Supreme Court August 23, 2022).
  • With the judge’s approval and acceptance, the Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct has ordered a judge cease and desist from failing to hear and decide matters assigned to her based on an April 2022 complaint alleging that the judge had not ruled on the complainant’s motion to reconsider a memorandum of judgment and decree of divorce after hearing the motion on November 9, 2021.  Inquiry Concerning Kirby, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Conduct August 3, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to issue a written divorce decree for over 3 years after presiding over the trial and failing to resolve and issue orders on other post-trial matters.  In re Saitta, Stipulation and order of consent (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 1, 2022).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and 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 a proceeding against a former judge; in June 2021, the Commission asked the judge to respond to the complaint it was investigating that she had failed to file reports or remit funds to the Office of the State Comptroller in the time required by law for November and December 2019, resulting in her judicial salary being stopped on May 20, 2020.  In the Matter of Matthews, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for appearing at a small claims proceeding as if he were an attorney to advocate for his wife, who was a defendant, referring to his judicial status during the proceeding, and disparaging the plaintiff.  In the Matter of Kennedy, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 24, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a magistrate for cursing at an attorney in open court and, in a separate incident, loudly complaining to the chief magistrate and yelling at the scheduling clerk about not receiving timely notice of a jury trial; the Court also ordered that the magistrate complete at least an additional 20 hours of anger management counseling.  In the Matter of Martin (South Carolina Supreme Court August 31, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for sexually harassing his court clerk, including telling crude jokes of a sexual nature and making comments about her clothes, and creating an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment.  Public Warning of Grissam (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, during jury selection in a case, referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus;” stating, “yeah, I said it!” and “the attorneys would be upset I said that;” calling some of the required questions for potential jurors “stupid;” and commenting, “I don’t know why I have to ask this;” the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 1 hour of instruction with a mentor about courtroom demeanor.  Public Admonition of Low and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2022), on review to special court of review.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to withdraw as attorney of record in at least 10 cases after becoming a judge.  Public Admonition of Lucas (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 29, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a former judge for failing to obtain his required judicial education.  Public Warning of Salinas (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 10, 2022).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for wearing a law enforcement uniform in advertisements and social media posts for his campaign and appearing in photographs with campaign signs advocating the election of other candidates.  In the Matter of Jeffries (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 16, 2022).

Recent cases

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for, in 4 cases, making remarks reflecting poor demeanor and engaging in conduct that gave an appearance of bias and, in 3 of those cases, denying the parties a full right to be heard.  Public Admonishment of Hunt (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 5, 2022).
  • Based on the judge’s retirement and agreement not to seek, request, or accept any judicial office in the future in the state, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission resolved a complaint against a former judge; a preliminary investigation had been started to determine whether, as chief judge of a county probate court, the judge had failed to properly supervise employees in their management of courts funds, employed unqualified individuals to assist with court-related tasks, improperly used notary services, improperly issued marriage licenses, and failed to regularly attend to his duties.  In re Brazier, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission July 7, 2022).
  • In lieu of filing formal disciplinary proceedings and with the referee’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a former referee for temporarily suspending a father’s parenting time with his minor daughter based, in part, on interview notes she received from a Guardian Ad Litem without circulating the notes to the father and his counsel or allowing them to review the notes when they asked to do so.  Public Admonition of Johnston (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications July 1, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement that included the judge’s resignation and affirmation that she will not seek office or accept judicial office in Indiana state courts or perform judicial duties in the state, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications concluded its investigation of allegations that had resulted in the judge being arrested and charged with domestic battery in the presence of a child; the judge also agreed to relinquish her attorney license for 150 days by going on inactive status with the condition that she retake and pass the multistate professional responsibility examination prior to reactivating her law license.  In the Matter of Bell, Stipulation and agreement (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications July 25, 2022).
  • Adopting the findings and commendation 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, while he was a part-time judge, grabbing a client’s representative in his private law office without her consent and for his “pervasive dishonesty” when testifying before the Committee.  In the Matter of Falcone, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court July 19, 2022).
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct suspended a judge with pay for 30 days for (1) media interviews and social media posts about a case against a pharmaceutical company that resulted in his disqualification from the case; (2) communications and a physical relationship with a female litigant and failing to disqualify himself from her case; and (3) failing to respond to the Board’s notices.  In re Young, Order (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct July 26, 2022).
  • Reviewing a stipulation, agreement, order, and recommendation, the Washington Supreme Court suspended a judge for 10 days without pay and publicly censured her for (1) telling a litigant who was contesting a traffic infraction that, given the evidence and his admission, it was clear he had committed the infraction; engaging in an off-the-record discussion with him; and when she came back on the record, dismissing the infraction without giving a reason or explaining the interruption in the recording; and (2) awarding a judgment as a counterclaim in a case in which the defendants had not filed a counterclaim.  In re Burchett, Order (Washington Supreme Court July 19, 2022).
  • The Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Counsel accepted a former judge’s permanent resignation from the bar in lieu of discipline; pursuant to a plea agreement, the judge had pled guilty to intentionally touching with sexual motivation 2 court employees.  In re Gallina, Resignation form (Washington State Bar Association April 25, 2022) (). 
  • Adopting the findings of a special committee, the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit publicly reprimanded a judge for entering into a separation agreement that created the appearance that he had received “a large payment on the eve of taking the bench for no coherent reason” or had agreed to practice law while serving as a judge.  In the Matter of Dawson, Memorandum and order (4th Circuit Judicial Council July 29, 2022).

Recent cases

  • Based on stipulated facts and legal conclusions and an agreement that included the justice’s retirement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a former court of appeal justice for (1) a pattern of delay in deciding approximately 200 appellate matters over a 10-year period and (2) failing to properly exercise his administrative and supervisory authority as administrative presiding justice to prevent chronic delays in cases assigned to other justices on the court. In the Matter Concerning Raye, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 1, 2022).
  • Based on the judge’s retirement and agreement not to seek, request, or accept any judicial office in the future in the state, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission resolved its investigation of a former part-time judge; the investigative panel had authorized a full investigation of conduct that indicated that he had been improperly involved as an attorney in several cases in his court; conduct that indicated that he had taken action on a few cases in his court in which he should have recused himself; and conduct that indicated that he had represented a party in personal litigation in another jurisdiction while the party regularly appeared before him in his judicial capacity. In re Zimmerman, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission June 10, 2022).
  • Based on the report and recommendation of the hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, to which the judge had not objected, the Georgia Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for berating a bail bondsman who had criticized the judge on Facebook when a rape defendant whom the judge had released on his own recognizance after a mistrial failed to appear for his retrial. Inquiry Concerning Norris (Georgia Supreme Court June 22, 2022).
  • Accepting a joint petition for consent discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 1 year and 1 day based on an investigation of allegations that, while he was a judge, he engaged in unwelcome touching of several women and acting inappropriately in the courtroom. In re Williams (Louisiana Supreme Court June 28, 2022).
  • 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 a proceeding against a former non-lawyer judge; in June 2021, the Commission had informed the judge that it was investigating a complaint about her failure to report to the State Comptroller moneys that she had received 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).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a non-lawyer magistrate for failing to allow the parties and their lawyers in cases involving the sheriff’s office time to consider the question of remittal outside his presence after disclosing that his wife was a captain in the sheriff’s office, failing to ensure that any agreements to waive disqualification were placed on the record, and failing to disclose when his wife had supervised the officers in a case. In the Matter of Barker (South Carolina Supreme Court June 15, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for refusing to accept a defendant’s guilty plea and, following her conviction, announcing his intention to appoint a new lawyer for a motion for new trial limited to punishment issues; the Commission also ordered that the judge receive 3 hours of instruction on criminal pleas with a mentor. Public Reprimand of Wilson and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 8, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for operating a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol and causing a single car accident. Public Admonition of Moorehead (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 9, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for saying “kicked that motherf*er’s a,” believing he was no longer on the line after a telephonic hearing but while the attorneys were still on the line and the courtroom’s audio recording was still activated. In re Dixon, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for comments implying that a defendant might be raped in prison; the judge also agreed to participate in ethics training focused on appropriate courtroom demeanor. In re Amato, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for significant delays in issuing decisions after hearings in 3 small claims cases. In re Howson, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2022).

Recent cases

  • Denying a motion for reconsideration, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for writing a letter to the editor of a newspaper defending an attorney from attacks by the county attorney and failing to recuse from a criminal case in which the attorney was a witness.  Bernini, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 2022).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for questioning an unrepresented defendant and telling him, “I’m pleading you guilty.”  Rummer, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 24, 2022).
  • Reviewing the findings and recommendations of a hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay, fined her $30,000, and ordered her to appear before it to be publicly reprimanded for (1) representing her son at the police station following his arrest and (2) failing to appropriately supervise her judicial assistant, who sat a counsel table during 2 hearings in the judge’s son’s case and gave him her security badge.  Inquiry Concerning Hobbs (Florida Supreme Court May 19, 2022).  The Court also ordered the judge to attend an employee management program.
  • Pursuant to a deferred recommendation of discipline agreement, the Louisiana Judiciary Commission publicly admonished a justice of the peace for improperly charging her constable some expenses attributable solely to the operation of her office, failing to adequately communicate and cooperate with her constable about accounting and fee sharing, and failing to retain in a separate account the filing fees charged for the clerk of court as required by statute; the Commission also ordered the judge to pay $1,929.34 to the constable’s office in restitution.  In re Holmes, Deferred recommendation of discipline agreement (Louisiana Judiciary Commission May 27, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to recuse himself from a matter involving the son of the former mayor and creating the appearance of bias in favor of the former mayor, having an ex parte communication with the former mayor, and amending a search warrant to exclude the former mayor’s firearms without following appropriate procedures.  In the Matter of Killen, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 16, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation of discipline by consent, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for continuing to sit as a municipal judge for 13 months while she was administratively ineligible to practice law based on her failure to comply with the mandatory IOLTA program.  In the Matter of Guzman, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 18, 2022).
  • 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; the Commission had informed the judge that it was investigating complaints alleging that he, inter alia, (1) failed to make mandatory reports and remittances to the State Comptroller in a timely manner, (2) failed to record all proceedings, as required by law, and (3) failed to administer his court effectively.  In the Matter of Engle, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 5, 2022).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a non-lawyer magistrate for 6 months without pay for, while her husband was sheriff, accessing messages with citizen complaints on the sheriff department’s Facebook page and forwarding those complaints to the department using her judicial email account with requests that certain actions be taken, involving herself in sheriff’s department personnel matters, and preparing correspondence on behalf of the sheriff’s department. In the Matter of Underwood (South Carolina Supreme Court May 25, 2022).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct suspended a judge for 30 days for driving under the influence. In re Humphrey, Order (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 26, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) summoning several assistant district attorneys to his chambers to express his displeasure with their failure to treat him with sufficient respect and to lecture them that they could be held in criminal contempt for that disrespect, referring to himself as the “king” of his court and calling the ADAs “hang’em high prosecutors” during the meeting; and (2) on at least 1 occasion, threatening on the record to charge an ADA with contempt of court for failing to show him the proper respect. Public Admonition of Jordan and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 13, 2022). The Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of additional education with a mentor on judicial temperament and demeanor and a judge’s role as a public servant.

Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for posting on his Facebook page a photograph of a litigant’s request for an extension of time because his puppy ate his paperwork. Williams, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 2022).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for meeting with 2 police detectives who were being investigated for misconduct in a case over which she had presided and sending 2 letters to the police chief on official court stationery about the matter. In the Matter Concerning Meyer, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 5, 2022).
  • Based on the judge’s retirement and agreement not to serve in judicial office in the state, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission resolved its investigation of a former judge for conduct that failed to promote public confidence in the judiciary and for failing to be truthful during the investigation. In re Inquiry Concerning Brown, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission April 4, 2022).
  • Based on the judge’s retirement and agreement not to serve in judicial office in the state, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission resolved its investigation of a former magistrate judge; the investigative panel had authorized formal charges alleging that the judge had engaged in ex parte communications and independently investigated the facts in a criminal matter pending in her court and used her judicial status to influence determinations in a criminal matter pending in her court involving a family member. In re Inquiry Concerning Dowling, Report of disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission April 4, 2022).
  • Following a hearing, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission removed a judge for (1) numerous actions to exert her influence to affect the outcome of her son’s criminal proceedings; (2) creating and failing to disclose conflicts of interest in the appointment of guardians ad litem and in cases involving certain attorneys; (3) retaliating against family services case workers who advocated actions contrary to her views; (4) using her court staff to administer drug tests; and (5) a lack of candor and misrepresentations to the Commission. In re the Matter of Gordon, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and final order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission April 22, 2022), on appeal.
  • The Louisiana Judiciary Commission publicly admonished a judge for 2 campaign ads, one that criticized her opponent and one that stated that a vote for her showed support for President Trump and the Republican party. Public Admonishment of Marchman (Louisiana Judiciary Commission April 26, 2022).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge from office for engaging in professional misconduct as an attorney as evidenced by 2 orders that suspended him from the practice of law in New York for a total of 24 months. In the Matter of Gonzalez, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 13, 2022).
  • Adopting the findings of the Board of Professional Conduct, based on stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months for berating a litigant for nearly an hour during a status conference after the litigant had criticized him at a board of commissioners meeting for not disqualifying himself from cases in which his daughter appeared as an attorney; allowing his daughter “to continue his line of intemperate interrogation;” and appearing at a commissioners’ meeting to accuse the litigant of “publicly disparaging and slandering him and [his daughter];” the suspension was stayed on the conditions that he commit no further misconduct and complete 6 hours of continuing judicial education. Disciplinary Counsel v. O’Diam (Ohio Supreme Court April 28, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for failing to cooperate in the Commission’s investigation of complaints against him. Public Admonition of Nolen (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for (1) posting and reposting racial, ethnic, and religious comments and/or memes on social media; (2) issuing peace bond warrants for President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci based on alleged “threats to commit an offense” against multiple anonymous complainants; and (3) lending the prestige of his judicial office to advance the private interests of a charitable organization he had created and soliciting funds for that organization. Public Warning of Black (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) during a protective order hearing, ordering an attorney escorted to the jury box where her bailiff shackled him to a chair and then continuing with the hearing; and (2) just over a week later, having a second attorney escorted to the jury box where her bailiff shackled him to a chair and instructing the attorney’s son, who had arrived to represent him, never to come into her courtroom again. Public Reprimand of Stalder (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 20, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for his outbursts during the trial in a divorce case and during an ex parte confrontation with one of the lawyers in his chambers; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor. Public Admonition of Wells (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 20, 2022).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former part-time judge for donating to the campaign of a mayoral candidate and introducing the candidate at the campaign kick-off rally. In re Bennett, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2022).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for reckless driving and telling the arresting officers that an arrest would damage his career. In re Imboden, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2022).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for (1) making statements to a reporter in response to a police captain’s criticism of his bond in a case and a heated exchange during a meeting with police officers about the criticism; (2) swearing at a police officer during a telephone call about the bond in another case; and (3) asking lawyers who appear before him and a bail bondsman to submit letters in support of him to Judicial Disciplinary Counsel. Public Admonishment of Gaujot (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 25, 2022).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for (1) when police officers responded to a neighborhood incident, swearing, invoking his position as a magistrate, making a demeaning stereotypical comment about his neighbor’s wife, and denigrating the homeless; and (2) serving as an administrator for a neighborhood watch Facebook page and an unseemly comment by his wife on that page that people thought the magistrate had posted. Public Admonishment of Weiss (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 25, 2022).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for holding 2 correctional officers in contempt because they asked to contact their supervisor before transporting a prisoner to a different jail. Public Admonition of Murensky (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission April 25, 2022).

Recent cases

  • Accepting an agreement, the Georgia Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for periodically dismissing cases without the legal authority to do so.  Inquiry Concerning Baker (Georgia Supreme Court March 8, 2022).
  • Reviewing the findings and recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, which were based on stipulations, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 4 months without pay for, while presiding over a child custody case, engaging in improper ex parte communications on Facebook Messenger with the children’s maternal grandmother for over a 6-month period; attempting to issue a special order for visitation; and misleading a fellow judge by failing to disclose his personal involvement in the matter and disparaging the grandmother’s attorney.  In re Denton (Louisiana Supreme Court March 25, 2022).
  • Based on the report and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Massachusetts Supreme Court Judicial Conduct suspended a judge without pay for engaging in an intentionally touching a court employee without her consent at a court-sponsored event and providing inconsistent and knowingly false statements during the investigation and hearing; the suspension was for “a reasonable time to permit the executive and legislative branches to consider, if they wish, whether the respondent should retain his judicial office.”  In the Matter of Sushchyk, 183 N.E.3d 388 (Massachusetts 2022).
  • Based on the report of a referee following a hearing, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for failing to disclose a debt owed to her on her financial disclosure forms from 2006 to 2019 and suggesting to the debtor’s attorney that the debtor sign a confession of judgment or exclude the debt from his bankruptcy filing.  In the Matter of Jamieson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 11, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to certify to the state Department of Labor all of the days that he had presided as a town justice, and, as a result, accepting unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.  In the Matter of Okolowicz, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 17, 2022).
  • 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; the Commission had informed the judge that it was investigating a complaint alleging, inter alia, that the judge (1) at the arraignment of a defendant who identifies as Native American, made snide comments about the defendant’s annuity from the Seneca Nation; (2) failed to file mandatory reports and remittances to the State Comptroller on time; and (3) imposed fines and surcharges outside the limits set in statute.  In the Matter of Schindler, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 17, 2022).
  • 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 a matter against a former judge; in December, the judge was convicted by a jury of 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). 
  • Based on its findings of misconduct, which were based on stipulated facts, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge and barred him from further judicial service for (1) arbitrarily ordering that a woman be imprisoned for 25 days on a “dubious probation violation charge” out of anger and “on a personal whim” after she offended his law clerk in a disagreement in a convenience store and (2) attempted to intimidate a courthouse employee into signing a confidentiality statement by posting the employee’s private grievance on a public bulletin.  In re Toothman, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline March 17, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for stating in a Facebook post that he would release anyone brought before him charged with violating stay at home orders or other restrictions issued during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Public Admonition of Black (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 28, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for, in 3 family violence cases, intentionally delaying hearings, resetting cases multiple times without just cause, failing to effectively communicate her expectations about procedures and time constraints to waiting court-goers, and repeatedly ignoring attorneys’ requests to obtain case settings or to dispose of their clients’ cases.  Public Reprimand of Mullin (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 2022).

Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to grant a continuance requested by an attorney who was experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or to make arrangements to allow the attorney to appear telephonically and then granting a default judgment against the attorney’s client, a defendant in a civil traffic case.  Sears, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct January 26, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreement, the Georgia Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and ordered that he be publicly reprimanded for engaging in a verbal altercation with a defendant in the courtroom and grabbing him and pushing him against the wall in the hallway.  Inquiry Concerning Hays (Georgia Supreme Court February 1, 2022).
  • 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 been investigating a complaint alleging, inter alia, that the judge had encouraged a minor to have sex with his teenage son, offered her gifts and money in exchange for sexual favors, and provided her with alcoholic beverages.  In the Matter of Wittlinger, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 3, 2022).
  • 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 a proceeding against a former judge; the Commission had been investigating a complaint alleging that, in her capacity as the Director of the Office of Justice Court Support, she arranged the hiring of the fiancée of a relative and retaliated against another Office employee for failing to vote with her on an interview panel.  In the Matter of Sunukjian, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 3, 2022).
  • Based on the findings of a referee following a hearing, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, from approximately 2015 to 2017 (1) allowing her secretary to help plan her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and perform other personal tasks for her and (2) allowing her young daughter to frequent the security checkpoint at the courthouse, which interfered with the duties of the court officers.  In the Matter of Polk, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 24, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, during her campaign (1) posting an invitation to a fundraising event for the county Republican committee 4 times on her campaign Facebook page and (2) approving the content and distribution of campaign literature depicting a sample ballot falsely indicating that one of her opponents in the Republican primary would appear on a ballot line labeled, “Democrat.”  In the Matter of Coffinger, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 23, 2022).
  • Based on its finding of misconduct, which were based on stipulations of fact, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a former judge for engaging in rude, loud outbursts towards counsel and witnesses in 6 cases.  In re Placey, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline February 14, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for filing 12 campaign finance reports late from January 2006 through July 2021.  Public Warning of Slaughter (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 16, 2022).

Recent cases

  • After a hearing on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Commission, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for “repeatedly disregarding the law as set forth in decisions of the Alabama appellate courts and by defying and disregarding orders and decisions of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, including those ordering her recusal;” “making inappropriate statements regarding the Alabama judiciary,” including statements in an order suggesting that it “is politically corrupt, that court-appointed attorney assignments are based on political contributions to judicial campaigns, and that ‘[a]n appeal to the higher courts in Alabama on behalf of a capital defendant sentenced to death by judicial override is ceremonial at best;” “engaging in extrajudicial factual investigations, by making findings of fact regarding matters as to which no evidence was presented, and by inappropriately inserting legal issues not raised by the parties, thereby abandoning her role as a neutral arbiter and becoming an advocate for defendants, her own judicial rulings, and her personal opinions;” and “questioning an attorney in her courtroom regarding his contributions to her political opponent’s campaign in a matter in which such contributions were not at issue and were not raised by any party.”  In the Matter of Todd, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary December 3, 2021).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation from office and his agreement that he will never seek or accept a position involving service as a judicial officer in the state, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct closed 3 matters against a judge who stipulated that (1) just over 1 minute into a hearing in 4 related civil protective order cases, he had ordered the petitioner to undergo a competence examination under Rule 11 of the rules of criminal procedure, which does not apply in civil matters; and (2) he had attempted to engage in a personal or extrajudicial relationship with a clerk, creating a work environment that made her feel uncomfortable and was offensive to her.  Inquiry Concerning Eisele, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 17, 2021).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for a pattern of yelling at court staff and using profanity; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete a training course that addresses leadership and/or management skills and interpersonal skills with subordinates.  Carroll, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 12, 2021).
  • Based on an agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly censured a judge for a verbal confrontation with 3 people about a parking space.  Re Karren, Letter (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission January 21, 2022).
  • The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed an uncontested order of the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure involuntarily retiring a judge based on extensive and extraordinary delays in cases on his calendar and a mental and or physical disability that is or is likely to become permanent and that prevents or seriously interferes with, the proper performance of his judicial duties.  In re Berk, Order (D.C. Court of Appeals November 4, 2021), affirming.
  • Approving a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court barred a former judge from judicial service and publicly reprimanded him for allowing the coordinator of the drug court over which he presided to engage in activities in support of the judge’s re-election campaign during work hours and discussing the distribution of a campaign yard sign with a drug court participant in the courtroom and delivering a sign to the defendant.  In the Matter of Miller (Indiana Supreme Court January 21, 2022).
  • Because the respondent filed no exceptions, the Kansas Supreme Court accepted the findings and conclusions of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which were based on stipulations, but took no further action on the Commission’s recommendation that a former magistrate judge be publicly censured for giving access to nude and partially nude photos of himself to the complainant and the complainant’s wife on a social media dating website for couples, sending sexually revealing photographs of himself to the complainant’s wife, and requesting that the complainant’s wife send sexually explicit photos to him.  In the Matter of Clark (Kansas Supreme Court January 28, 2022). 
  • Rejecting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court imposed no discipline on a judge for remaining on the bench even though she was elected after turning 70, contrary to the state constitution.  In re Matthews (Louisiana Supreme Court January 28, 2022). 
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay and publicly censured him for using sexually graphic language in conversations with female assistant prosecutors during breaks in a homicide trial and questioning them about their height and weight.  In re Morrow (Michigan Supreme Court January 13, 2022).
  • Accepting an agreement, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for engaging in 2 ex parte phone calls on a Friday with the father of a woman who had just been arrested on multiple violent felonies; releasing the defendant on Saturday, contrary to the court protocol directing judges on call over the weekend not to release alleged violent offenders until the next business day; and failing to disclose the calls to the prosecution.  Inquiry Concerning Anaya (New Mexico Supreme Court December 13, 2021).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a non-attorney judge from office for (1) posting, disseminating, and/or approvingly commenting on sexually charged content and images on Facebook that were demeaning to women or otherwise offensive and (2) using his Facebook account to publicly engage in fundraising for the National Rifle Association.  In the Matter of Stilson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 7, 2022).
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to enter orders within the required time frames in 2 cases; the judge accepted the reprimand.  Crozier (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct January 10, 2022).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge who had been arrested and charged with use of an abusable volatile chemical, specifically, “whippets” or nitrous oxide cartridges.  Public Admonition of Starowitz (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 8, 2021).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for soliciting donations for a charity in a newspaper ad.  Public Admonishment of Headley (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission December 15, 2021).

Recent cases

  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 10 days without pay, publicly reprimanded her, and fined her $37,500 for being absent from the courthouse beyond the permitted number of days for judicial leave, failing to notify court management of some of the absences, and being at the courthouse below the number of hours expected of trial judges on some days when she was there.  Inquiry Concerning Bryson (Florida Supreme Court November 24, 2021).
  • In lieu of formal disciplinary proceedings and with the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for sua sponte revoking defendants’ bonds without a motion from the prosecution or notice to the defendants and contrary to statutory guidelines for at least 8 individuals in 13 matters between 2016 and 2020.  Public Admonition of Buckley (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications November 8, 2021).
  • Accepting a stipulation agreement and consent to discipline, the New Mexico Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for (1) failing to wear a protective face covering at all times while on court premises as required by the Court’s pandemic order and asking a clerk if they minded if he did not wear a mask; (2) using chewing tobacco while on court premises contrary to an administrative order; (3) after the court began conducting telephonic hearings due to the pandemic, issuing bench warrants to 11 defendants who failed to call the court on their appearance dates without determining if they had been properly summoned; (4) based on an ex parte communication with an assistant district attorney, recalling a defendant’s case and ordering the defendant held without bond; (5) in 4 cases, issuing an order setting conditions of release when he knew or should have known that the district attorney’s office had filed an expedited motion for pretrial detention that divested him of jurisdiction; (6) in 13 driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs cases, issuing illegal and/or improper sentences and/or failing to ensure that judgment and sentencing orders were accurate; (7) dismissing a case with prejudice when a preliminary hearing was not held in a timely manner contrary to rule; (8) failing to give a litigant 15 days to respond to a notice of intent to enter judgment on the pleadings as required by rule; (9) granting a competency motion orally contrary to rule; (10) determining a defendant to be a flight risk because they “didn’t live in the U.S,” ordering the defendant held on an $8,000 bond, and failing to make written findings of facts justifying the secured bond as required by rule; (11) sentencing a defendant to 90 days of incarceration and imposing 364 days of probation without ordering the sentence deferred or suspended contrary to statute; (12) signing an order for judgment on the pleadings that stated that he had reviewed the defendant’s response to the plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings when a response had not yet been filed; (13) assisting a state police officer in the prosecution of a case; (14) in 2 cases on the same day, accepting a guilty plea and improperly dismissing charges without proof of compliance; and (15) in 2 cases on the same day, failing to fully advise the defendants of all of their constitutional rights. The judge also agreed to attend at his own expense and successfully complete the National Judicial College general jurisdiction course, to have a mentor, and to be on unsupervised probation until the end of his term. In the Matter of Guthrie, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court October 29, 2021).
  • Based on the report of the Board of Professional Conduct, which was based on stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for communicating inappropriately with a court reporter on Facebook and by text and phone calls; the entire suspension was stayed conditioned on the judge receiving 8 hours of training on sexual harassment and refraining from further misconduct.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Berry, Order (Ohio Supreme Court November 3, 2021).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Board of Profession Conduct based on stipulations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year without pay for (1) his undignified, improper, and discourteous demeanor toward a criminal defendant and the defendant’s girlfriend in his courtroom; ordering the defendant’s girlfriend, who was quietly observing the proceedings, to be drug tested; and finding the defendant’s girlfriend in direct contempt of court and sentencing her to 10 days in jail for her refusal to submit to a drug test.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Repp (Ohio Supreme Court November 9, 2021).
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) providing a “legal tip of the day” on Facebook, such as “when stealing stealth is key” or “the goal of criminal and bad behavior is to get away with it” and (2) having his law license suspended twice for failing to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements.  Webb (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct November 5, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for issuing a search warrant for firearms in the possession of the husband in a divorce case without complying with the law, failing to be patient, dignified, and courteous with the husband, and manifesting bias and prejudice against the husband.  Public Warning of Bailey (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021), on appeal.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for falsely stating to other court employees that his former court clerk was being investigated by the county human resources department, provoking an altercation with the former clerk’s husband, a constable, and giving inaccurate and misleading testimony in a civil removal action against the constable.  The Commission also ordered the judge to receive 4 hours of instruction with a mentor particularly on sensitivity and diversity training, human resources, and personnel management.  Public Reprimand of Egan and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for holding the mother in a case affecting the parent-child relationship in contempt and jailing her without proper notice or advising her of her right to counsel.  Public Reprimand of Fletcher (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) producing and erecting signs advertising his wife’s campaign for county commissioner, discussing her candidacy with others at campaign events and elsewhere, and maintaining a Facebook page on which materials supporting his wife’s campaign appeared; (2) producing and erecting signs advertising his services as a justice of the peace and as a private attorney; (3) disseminating business cards with the contact information for his judicial office on one side and his private practice on the other; and (4) acting as an attorney for a defendant in a case in which he had previously performed the magistration in his judicial capacity.  The Commission also ordered that he receive 2 hours of instruction with a mentor on campaign ethics, conflicts of interest, and performing magistrations.  Public Reprimand of Alvarez and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) posting on Facebook concerning a death inquest she had conducted and commenting to the media about the inquest; (2) in her divorce proceedings, providing false testimony under oath about her possession and knowledge of firearms awarded to her ex-husband, for which she was held in contempt and served 15 days in confinement; and (3) striking an unattended vehicle.  Public Reprimand of Thomson (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for failing to complete any of his 16 hours of judicial education for 2018-2019 and any of his 16 hours of judicial education for 2019-2020.  Public Admonition of Valdez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 2021).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making comments critical of the city’s decision to file and try a case that he thought could only be heard by the 2 court employees in the courtroom but that were being broadcast through the court’s YouTube channel.  In re Antush, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 19, 2021).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for failing to provide a sign language interpreter for a litigant despite the litigant’s request.  In the Matter of D’Angelo, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission October 28, 2021).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly censured a judge and fined her $1,000 for searching a self-represented ex-husband’s home for marital property and threatening him with contempt when he protested.  In the Matter of Goldston (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals November 18, 2021).

Recent cases

  • Pursuant to a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for interfering and failing to cooperate with court officials in the administrative of court business with respect to personnel matters and using inappropriate language around court staff and court officials.  In the Matter of Chelini, Stipulation and order of consent (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 12, 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 it was investigating based on the judge’s arrest on criminal charges of harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, his invocation of his judicial office at the time of his arrest when he asked the investigator to recommend a less restrictive order of protection, and his failure for approximately 3 months to comply with a court order to surrender all of his firearms.  In the Matter of Duyssen, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 5, 2021).
  • Based on the report of the Board of Professional Conduct, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for regularly communicating on Facebook messenger and over the phone with a litigant about 4 cases over which the judge was presiding; the Court stayed the suspension conditioned on the judge completing at least 3 hours of continuing judicial education on ex parte communications or use of social media by judicial officers, refraining from further misconduct, and paying the costs of the proceedings.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Winters (Ohio Supreme Court August 18, 2021).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a magistrate for 6 months for his disruptive behavior during a meeting about the court’s Covid-19 safety plan, his confrontations with another magistrate and the Chief Magistrate after the meeting, and his statement to a clerk about the Chief Magistrate’s complaint to Disciplinary Counsel; the suspension was made retroactive to July 10, 2020, the date of his interim suspension, and the Court also ordered him to complete at least 15 hours of anger management and to pay the costs of the investigation.  In the Matter of Rivers (South Carolina Supreme Court August 11, 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 justice of the peace and associate municipal court judge; in May 2019, the Commission had suspended the judge without pay after she was indicted on state charges of theft of more than $2,500, but less than $30,000, and abuse of official capacity.  Grigsby, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 12, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for her posts on her personal Facebook page that supported judicial candidates, opposed candidates for non-judicial offices, made a negative comment about Scientology, and included a meme about border crossings; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction on racial sensitivity with a mentor.  Public Warning of Baca Bennet and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 16, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, after learning that the county attorney sought to dismiss a traffic matter, initiating an ex parte communication about the merits of the case with the officer who issued the citation and directing his clerk to tell the county attorney that the officer was opposed to the dismissal.  Public Admonition of Zander and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 12, 2021).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for ordering the activation of a criminal defendant’s stun cuff, which resulted in injury to the defendant and his absence from the remainder of the guilt/innocence phase of his trial.  Public Warning of Gallagher (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 19, 2021).
  • Based on agreements to resign and never to seek judicial office, the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished 2 former magistrates for dismissing criminal charges in exchange for donations to a charitable organization by granting motions to dismiss filed by the prosecution.  Public Admonishment of Nutter (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 27, 2021); Public Admonishment of Taylor (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 27, 2021).