Recent cases

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to de-escalate a contentious hearing in an eviction case, raising his own voice toward the landlord, and presiding over a request for a harassment injunction against the landlord by one of the tenants. Delaney, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 18, 2018).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for his practice of delegating his responsibility to conduct case management conferences to his court clerk. Public Admonishment Public Admonishment of Hiroshige (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 24, 2018).
  • As recommended by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for campaign statements posted on her Facebook page and in an e-mail implying that her opponent was unfit for judicial office because he was a criminal defense attorney. Inquiry Concerning Santino (Florida Supreme Court October 19, 2018).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a former judge for her campaign’s posting of a photoshopped picture of herself and an actor on her campaign Facebook page, misleading the public into believing that Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson had endorsed her re-election, and for commenting on the post. In the Matter of Almase, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline October 22, 2018).
  • Granting the Judicial Standards Commission’s petition to accept a stipulation, the New Mexico Supreme Court ordered the permanent resignation of a judge; the Commission had filed a notice of formal proceedings alleging that the judge had driven his personal vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages at a Super Bowl party in February 2018, had told a state police officer he was a municipal judge while the officer was administering field sobriety tests, and had asked a municipal police officer, whom he also knew was a municipal judge, to help him as the state police officer was escorting him to his vehicle. In the Matter of Dominguez, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court October 29, 2018).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) her conviction for driving while intoxicated; (2) being discourteous and seeking preferred treatment from the arresting officers; (3) violating the terms of her conditional discharge by ignoring orders of the court and leaving the country for an extended vacation without notice to the court or her lawyer, resulting in the revocation of her conditional discharge; (4) failing to disqualify herself from the arraignment of a former client and attempting to have his case transferred in a manner that she thought might benefit him; and (5) making discourteous, insensitive, and undignified comments before counsel and litigants in court. In the Matter of Astacio, Opinion (New York Court of Appeals October 16, 2018).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) on numerous occasions, acting impatiently, raising his voice, and making demeaning and insulting remarks, often in open court; (2) twice striking witness testimony and dismissing petitions for insufficient proof as a result of counsel’s reflexive use of the word “okay;” (3) awarding counsel fees without providing an opportunity to be heard; and (4) failing to cooperate with the Commission. In the Matter of O’Connor, Opinion (New York Court of Appeals October 16, 2018).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and affirmation not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter involving a former non-lawyer judge who had resigned after the Commission apprised her that it was investigating a complaint that she had interjected herself into a pending custody proceeding by criticizing one of the parties in an e-mail to the court, identifying herself as a judge, and lending the prestige of judicial office to advance a private interest. In the Matter of Crofoot, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 26, 2018).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and affirmation not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter involving a former non-lawyer judge who had resigned after the Commission had apprised him that it was investigating a complaint that, in a landlord-tenant matter, he had ordered the eviction of the tenants without conducting a hearing or affording them a full opportunity to be heard. In the Matter of Lustyik, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 26, 2018).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission based on stipulations, the North Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 30 days for failing for more than 5 years to rule on a motion for permanent child support. In re Chapman (North Carolina Supreme Court October 26, 2018).
  • Based on stipulations of fact, misconduct, and aggravating and mitigating factors and a joint recommendation, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate from the practice of law for 6 months for failing to accurately report his work hours and leave on his time card; the suspension was stayed on the condition that he engage in no further misconduct. Disciplinary Counsel v. Dunn (Ohio Supreme Court October 24, 2018).

 

Recent cases

  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) ordering the search of a litigant in open court and the seizure of money found on him; (2) misrepresenting facts about his campaign opponent; (3) publicly pledging during a candidate forum not to hold any statute unconstitutional; and (4) holding first appearance hearings without counsel present on the Saturday of a Memorial Day weekend during his campaign. Inquiry Concerning DuPont (Florida Supreme Court September 6, 2018).
  • The Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disclose on a questionnaire he submitted to apply for an open judicial seat that the Commission had previously privately reprimanded him. In the Matter of Wright, Public reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities September 24, 2018).
  • Following a hearing, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for stating, during a meeting of a domestic violence task force, that women should be concerned that cuts in funding to the Violence Against Woman Act would put women back in their place and, when asked, “are you saying that we need to be in a place?” responding, “the kitchen and the bedroom;” the Commission also ordered the judge to pay $2,500 to the domestic violence resource center, to attend a National Judicial College course, and to send private letters of apology to the women who were at the meeting. In the Matter of Weller, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline September 20, 2018), notice of appeal filed.
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were based on stipulated facts and which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for referring to his judicial status during an encounter with state troopers; the Court also ordered that he continue to be disqualified from DWI matters for at least a year. In the Matter of Benitez, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court September 6, 2018).  The Court does not describe the judge’s conduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were based on stipulated facts and which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for involving herself in the scheduling and processing of a friend’s case. In the Matter of Wright, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court September 21, 2018).  The Court does not describe the judge’s conduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Based on the report of a 3-judge panel recommending removal, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court removed a judge for using her judicial office to influence the police department to act on behalf of a former intern in a custody dispute and making material misrepresentations to the police department. In the Matter of DeAvila-Silebi (New Jersey Supreme Court September 26, 2018).  The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s misconduct; this summary is based on the report of the 3-judge panel.
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and affirmation not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter against a former non-lawyer judge who had resigned after Commission informed him that it was investigating allegations that he had made a culturally insensitive comment to a defendant in sentencing; yelled at his co-judge from the bench in a denigrating manner and using vulgarity; and posted racially offensive material in the office area of the courthouse. In the Matter of Tilney, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 13, 2018).
  • Accepting a stipulation based on the judge’s resignation and affirmation not to seek or accept judicial office in the future, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct concluded a matter against a former non-lawyer judge who had pled guilty to 3 state charges for stealing over $3,000 in court funds from the town or state and engaging in a check-kiting scheme to obtain from 3 banks over $1,000 that she did not have in her business or personal accounts. In the Matter of Martin, Decision and order (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 17, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for organizing a school supply drive using court staff and advertising it in Facebook posts, solicitating donations to an individual in a Facebook post, and advertising his donation of a rifle to a charitable organization’s raffle in a Facebook post. Public Admonition of Metts (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2018).
  • 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 a confidential complaint alleging the judge was “never in her office” and was otherwise inaccessible to members of the public attempting to transact business with her court. Hicks, Voluntary agreement to resign from judicial office in lieu of disciplinary action (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2018).

 

 

Recent cases

  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for knowingly permitting his bailiff to work for 2 court service providers. In the Matter of Roberts, Order (Arizona Supreme Court August 28, 2018).
  • Based on a stipulation, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former commissioner and barred him from receiving an assignment, appointment, or reference of work from any California state court for (1) posts and re-posts on his public Facebook page that reflected, among other things, anti-Muslim sentiment, anti-immigration sentiment, anti-Native American sentiment, anti-gay marriage and transgender sentiment, anti-liberal and anti-Democrat sentiment, anti-California sentiment, opposition to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, praise for Donald Trump, accusations against then-President Barack Obama, a lack of respect for the federal justice system, and contempt for the poor and (2) representing to his presiding judge and the Commission that he had taken the posts down when that was not true, although he believed the posts were no longer publicly viewable. In the Matter Concerning Gianquinto, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 22, 2018).
  • Agreeing with the findings of the 3 special masters following a hearing, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge and barred him from seeking or holding judicial office for (1) modifying a contempt sentence to deny good time credits to a defendant based on an ex parte communication with the sheriff’s department and subsequently granting good time credits for reasons unrelated to the merits and (2) offering advice to a prosecutor on an issue related to the trial outside the presence of defense counsel while the jury was deliberating. Inquiry Concerning Mills, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 28, 2018).
  • Following a hearing on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded an appellate judge for soliciting paid speaking engagements using his judicial position. In re Steigman (Illinois Courts Commission August 13, 2018).
  • Based on a conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to recuse from a case in which his friend had received a ticket and securing favorable treatment for his friend. In the Matter of Johanningsmeier (Indiana Supreme Court August 10, 2018).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for calling court personnel “heifers” and “DW” (double wide) and using the probate court account for personal financial dealings. In the Matter of Peeler (South Carolina Supreme Court August 22, 2018).
  • Following a trial de novo, a Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court publicly admonished a former judge for issuing a writ of attachment that resulted in a witness’s involuntary confinement for 28 days without the legal prerequisites being met or due process for the witness. In re Bond (Texas Special Court of Review August 10, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for (1) twice modifying a protective order based on ex parte communications and (2) ordering a couple incarcerated for contempt without due process; the Commission also ordered that the judge obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor. Public Warning of Buck and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 9, 2018).