Throwback Thursday  

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for describing a pro se criminal defendant’s legal arguments as “stupid” and “screwy” and stating to him, “If you don’t like it, move to Mexico.” Holt, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 31, 2013).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) directing that a subpoena duces tecum be issued to provide an audio tape recording of a traffic stop and documentation, reviewing the tapes, and relying on them to deny a motion to suppress and (2) directing his case coordinator to contact another court to inquire about a prior conviction and proof of representation. Letter of Reprimand to Crow (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission May 17, 2013).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly censured a judge for filing a complaint with the Committee on Professional Conduct against a public defender after the public defender had filed a complaint against him with the Commission. Letter of Censure to Crow (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission May 17, 2013).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for calling a criminal defendant a racist and saying “there goes another angry black man” as the defendant left the courtroom. Letter of Reprimand to Batton (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission May 17, 2013).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission disclosed that it had privately reprimanded a judge but not disclose the content of the reprimand; the report of disposition notes that the Commission had received complaints about inappropriate campaign activities by the judge on behalf of his son, a candidate for chief magistrate judge. In re Smith, Report of Disposition (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission May 21, 2013).
  • Accepting a recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission based on stipulated facts, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 30 days without pay and publicly censured him for (1) remanding an attorney he had found in contempt to the custody of the sheriff’s department without providing direction as to how they should transport him and (2) making comments to the attorney that were improper and failing to be patient and dignified toward the attorney. In re Post, 830 N.W.2d 365 (Michigan 2013).
  • Based on a stipulation, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for taking possession of 2 pieces of heavy equipment that he knew were subject to a court order in a divorce case that prohibited the ex-husband, who was dating the judge’s court clerk, from disposing of community property and making misrepresentations to the Commission investigator. In the Matter of Graham, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Imposition of Discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline May 17, 2013).
  • Adopting the Judicial Conduct Commission’s findings, conclusions, and proposed sanctions, based on stipulations, the Utah Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for exceeding the statutory salary cap for justice court judges employed by more than 1 municipality; the Court also ordered him to repay the excess salary. In re Christensen, 304 P.3d 835 (Utah 2013).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) signing bench warrants in cases in which he had been disqualified and (2) making a comment that created the appearance he had relied on unsolicited factual assertions from a court clerk when imposing a sentence and revoking bail without disclosing the ex parte communications. In re Porter, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 10, 2013).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge who identified himself as a judge to a law enforcement officer and mentioned several times that he had been with another judge earlier in the evening. In re Ryan, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 10, 2013).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for giving the appearance of summarily banishing a defendant from the county. Letter to Wise (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission May 5, 2008).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge who had pled guilty to public intoxication after being arrested when a police officer observed him outside his car near the interstate. Public Admonition of Currie (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications May 27, 2008).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Disabilities, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for a pattern of inappropriate demeanor and comments. In re Lamdin, 948 A.2d 54 (Maryland May 2008).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for holding litigants in 3 cases in summary contempt without complying with statutory requirements. In the Matter or Griffin, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 16, 2008).
  • The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had entered an Alford plea to impaired driving. In re Adkins, Public Reprimand (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission May 9, 2008).
  • Based on a consent-to-discipline agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for allowing 6 civil cases to languish in his court for an inordinate amount of time. Disciplinary Counsel v. Sargeant, 889 N.E.2d 96 (Ohio 2008).
  • Adopting the recommendations of the hearing panel of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for (1) proposing that a court employee obtain incriminating evidence against another magistrate by videotaping herself engaged in sexual relations with the magistrate and (2) using a racial epithet in a conversation with another court employee to refer to men that a court clerk was dating; the Court also ordered that the former judge be prohibited from seeking or accepting any judicial position in the state without its express permission. In the Matter of Hutchins, 661 S.E.2d 343 (South Carolina 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for a comment that could easily be misinterpreted as racist and an unsolicited, coercive, and intimidating discussion of the value of a case to encourage settlement that injected race and politics; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete an 8-hour course covering racial sensitivity and diversity. Public Warning of Keis and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for touching an attorney’s buttocks at a Christmas party; the Commission also ordered him to complete an 8-hour course covering gender sensitivity and sexual harassment. Public Warning of Miner and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for a 20-year practice of refusing to accept eviction filings from landlords for part of December. Public Admonition of Geick (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 5, 2008).
  • Based on a stipulation and joint recommendation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a supreme court justice for presiding, when she was a circuit judge, over 11 cases in which a bank was a party while her husband was a paid director of the bank, without disclosing the relationship or obtaining a waiver of her disqualification. In the Matter of Ziegler, 750 N.W.2d 710 (Wisconsin 2008).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Indiana Supreme Court permanently enjoined a former judge from seeking judicial office in Indiana; permanently disbarred him from the practice of law; and fined him $100,000 for (1) while serving as a part-time court commissioner, accepting sexual relations with a woman in exchange for his representation of her in the dissolution of her marriage; giving the woman a fake divorce decree; and related misconduct; and (2) after being appointed as a full-time judge pro tempore, continuing to serve and be paid as a part-time commissioner and part-time deputy city attorney and engaging in the private practice of law. In the Matter Edwards, 694 N.E.2d 701 (Indiana 1998).
  • In attorney discipline proceedings, the Ohio Supreme Court permanently disbarred a former judge who had pled guilty to distributing cocaine while a judge. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Gallagher, 693 N.E.2d 1078 (Ohio 1998).
  • Accepting a stipulation consenting to the implementation of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Utah Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for telling an attorney that it might not be a good idea for him to practice in her court again. Re Inquiry Concerning Acomb (Utah Supreme Court May 4, 1998).

Throwback Thursday

10  years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for lapses in demeanor while on the bench and for using his judicial letterhead to object to the parole of a prisoner who was the opposing party to a divorce client in his private law practice. Ludwig, Letter of Reprimand (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission April 2, 2008).
  • Conditioned on the judge’s agreement to retire and not seek or hold judicial office or judicial assignment, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for egregious and pervasive conduct while presiding over a jury trial in an employment claim that had led the appellate court to reverse the judgment. In the Matter of Brooks, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 8, 2008).
  • Based on the judge’s admission, the New Hampshire Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 3 years without pay and censured her for helping her husband protect his assets from creditors and, consequently, impeding the Professional Conduct Committee from collecting attorneys’ fees awarded in disbarment proceedings against him. Coffey’s Case, 949 A.2d 102 (New Hampshire 2008).
  • The New Mexico Supreme Court removed a judge from office for adjudicating 24 traffic cases in the defendants’ favor ex parte and without a hearing or taking evidence. Inquiry Concerning Griego, 181 P.3d 690 (New Mexico 2008).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge following his Alford plea to criminal charges of failing to report to law enforcement authorities information received in his professional capacity regarding the sexual misconduct of a county employee with an inmate. In the Matter of Carter, 662 S.E.2d 597 (South Carolina 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for not obtaining 14 hours of judicial education that he had missed in fiscal year 2005 as previously ordered by the Commission. Public Admonition of Brockwell (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for driving while intoxicated and attempting to use his position to escape the consequences of his actions. Public Admonition of Liendo (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2008).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for creating and posting in public areas in and around the courthouse, or allowing his court staff to create and post, suggestive flyers about an assistant city prosecutor. Public Admonition of Gilbert (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 3, 2008).
  • Based on the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Commission’s public reprimand of a former judge for gambling. In re Serassio, Order (Utah Supreme Court April 16, 2008).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a retired judge for (1) conduct in a civil action after becoming angry with an insurance company and its attorney; (2) slamming a tablet down on the bench because an attorney had repeatedly violated an in limine ruling, excusing the jury, and yelling loudly at the attorney for several minutes; (3) telling an inappropriate and offensive joke while on the bench in a case involving sexual abuse of a child; (4) after several incidents raised the possibility of contempt charges and a hearing, obtaining the plaintiffs’ waivers of complaints to the Commission, their wavier of the filing of potential civil suits, and their agreement to indemnify him for costs incurred in Commission proceedings, and threatening retaliation if they made complaints or filed civil suits; and (4) using the judicial office to promote and sell a book he had written. Inquiry Concerning Ross, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 30, 1998).  The Commission also barred him from receiving assignments, appointments, or references of work from any California state court.
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Judicial Standards, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former non-lawyer magistrate who, on the notarized application form he had filed with the governor’s office to become a magistrate, had falsely stated that he was a “high school graduate or its equivalence (G.E.D.).” In the Matter of White, 499 S.E.2d 813 (South Carolina 1998).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for rendering a decision that went beyond the relief requested and beyond his legal authority and denying an attorney’s rights without notice or a hearing, motivated by personal animosity based on information obtained outside of the court proceedings. In the Matter of Dier, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 28, 1993).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for being very argumentative with sheriff’s officers when a boat in which he was a passenger was stopped on a lake in Idaho, not responding to the officers’ reasonable requests for information, using abusive language, attempting to pick a fight with one of the officers, being arrested for being in physical control of a boat while under the influence of alcohol and intoxicants, refusing to exhale into a breathalyzer, and obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties. In re Larson, Stipulation and Order of Reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 2, 1993).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, during an arraignment concerning a charge of no valid operator’s license, directing insensitive questions and comments about AIDS to the defendant. In re O’Roarty, Stipulation and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 2, 1993).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Granting a joint motion to resolve charges after an alternate dispute resolution hearing, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded and censured a judge for making public comments about pending contempt proceedings against a lawyer on his Facebook page and in an e-mail to all state court judges. In the Matter of Allred, Reprimand and censure (Alabama Court of the Judiciary March 22, 2013).
  • Approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for 4 incidents of intemperate courtroom behavior in criminal cases; the Court also ordered him to send letters of apology and to continue mental health treatment recommended by his doctor and family therapist. Inquiry Concerning Shea, 110 So. 3d 414 (Florida 2013).
  • Based on his consent, the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission suspended a judge for 60 days without pay, reprimanded him, ordered that he be on probation until the end of his term, and ordered that he not run for re-election following the conclusion of his term; the judge admitted that (1) without any legal authority, he had ordered the collection of funds from criminal defendants “in what appeared to be an effort to ‘maximize’ the collection of revenue” for the county that the county was not entitled to receive; (2) failed to include surcharges required by law in fines imposed on criminal defendants; (3) appointed his son to serve as judge in his absence; (4) chatted on Facebook with a woman who contacted him, advised her how her brother could get a DUI matter pending in another court transferred to his court, and failed to recuse from the case; (5) segregated Hispanic defendants from the public courtroom to speak with them about their pending cases without a court reporter or the prosecutor present; (6) while on the bench, asked members of the audience to vote for him and engaged in other political activities; (7) questioned court officials regarding their support of his political opponent; (8) was hostile to an attorney who had contributed to his election opponent; (9) during his campaign, made numerous threatening statements to the owners and employees of the private probation services company under contract with the court because they would not publicly support his candidacy; (10) confronted members of the state patrol about objections they had to some of his rulings; and (11) held a “trial” in absentia over the objection of the defendant’s counsel. In re Bass, Public reprimand (Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission March 18, 2013).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for approximately 30 remarks he made to the jury in a criminal case. In the Matter of Spicer, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 26, 2013).
  • Concurring with the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for dismissing criminal charges in 38 cases in exchange for payments to a “drug fund” established by the police chief. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Smith, 109 So. 3d 95 (Mississippi 2013).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge who issued a warrant and judgment in an eviction proceeding that did not comply with statutory requirements, a month after being cautioned for issuing a judgment that was inconsistent with the same statute. In the Matter of Temperato, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 2013).
  • Based on the judge’s acceptance, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for becoming embroiled in a public feud with the police chief, the assistant town manager, and the district attorney and engaging in actions that fell outside the legitimate exercise of the powers of his office. Public Reprimand of Tillett (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission March 8, 2013).
  • After a trial de novo, a Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a court of appeals judge for contacting 3 individuals associated with the county juvenile detention center, a district judge, and a county commissioner in an effort to secure the release of an acquaintance’s daughter from the juvenile center after she was detained for shoplifting. In re Sharp, 480 S.W.3d 829 (Texas Special Court of Review 2013).
  • Based on stipulated facts and a stipulation for reprimand, the Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s public reprimand of a judge for ex parte communications with the parties in a small claims case after trial but before making his decision. Inquiry Concerning Johnson, Order (Utah Supreme Court March 26, 2013).
  • Adopting the sanction recommended by the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended a judge without pay until the end of his term (December 2016) and publicly censured him for (1) demonstrating contempt for the authority of the Court, the circuit court, the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts, and the Judicial Investigation Commission; (2) being unable to properly manage his office and staff; and (3) a lack of courtesy, civility, decorum, and judicial comportment in hearings and correspondence. In the Matter of Watkins, 757 S.E.2d 594 (West Virginia 2013).