Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Approving a stipulation for discipline by consent and based on the judge’s agreement to resign and never serve in judicial office, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) making a material misrepresentation to the Commission during a prior investigation; (2) improperly using her court credit card 14 times; (3) frequently arriving to court after her calendar was scheduled to start, including arriving 30 minutes late on 3 occasions; (4) twice, contrary to the provisions of the California Rules of Court, revising local court rules without providing the public and legal community with notice and an opportunity to comment; and (5) appointing her former law partner to represent a conservatee in a matter before her without disclosing the relationship or disqualifying herself from the case.  In the Matter Concerning Johnson, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance January 16, 2018).
  • Accepting a stipulation, the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications ordered a judge to cease and desist from using official letterhead to conduct personal business after the judge used the court fax machine, letterhead, and fax cover sheet to send a petition that he and his wife obtain interested party status as foster parents in a case and signed for petition as “Judge Boone.”  Inquiry Concerning Boone (Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications January 29, 2018).
  • Based on a report by the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for failing to disqualify himself from a child support and guardianship case after his wife had directly contacted the mother through social media and after the judge acknowledged that he had a personal bias that required disqualification.  In the Matter of Nadeau, 178 A.3d 495 (Maine 2018).
  • The Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly reprimanded a judge for taking a guilty plea from a defendant the judge knew or reasonably should have known was probably too intoxicated to enter a competent, knowing, and voluntary guilty plea. In the Matter of Barrett, Public reprimand (Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications January 23, 2018).
  • Based on the unanimous report and recommendation of the Disciplinary Board, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court disbarred a former judge from the practice of law for stealing cocaine from the evidence locker in his courtroom and using it for his own recreational purposes. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Pozonsky, 177 A.3d 830 (Pennsylvania 2018).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with an investigative panel, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge and suspended him from judicial duties with pay for failing to timely file a petition for a client and making false statements to the client and/or her daughters.  Letter to Boyd (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct January 11, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished 3 hearing officers for strictly following directives not to issue personal bonds to defendants from the judges in whose court the underlying cases were assigned; the Commission also ordered the hearing officers to obtain 4 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Licata and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 10, 2018); Public Admonition of Hagstette and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 10, 2018); Public Admonition of Wallace and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 10, 2018).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify himself from the case of a former client and directing the Department of Public Safety not to test DNA evidence in the case; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 4 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Reprimand of Muncy and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 10, 2018).
  •  The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to provide the parties in a small claims case with adequate notice of a hearing, issuing a criminal summons in the case, and failing to enter a final, appealable judgment. Public Reprimand of Melendrez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 25, 2018).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Alaska Supreme Court removed a former judge for, in ex parte communications, suggesting relevant case law to the prosecution in 2 cases.  In re Cummings, 292 P.3d 187 (Alaska 2013).
  • The Delaware Court on the Judiciary publicly censured a judge for delays in 8 family court cases of from 5 to 11 months and failing to comply with reporting mandates.  In re Coppadge, 74 A.3d 593 (Delaware 2013).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 year without pay for (1) failing to disqualify himself from a hearing on an inmate’s motion to reconsider his sentence after it became clear that the inmate was making allegations that would benefit the judge and (2) giving advice to the inmate in an ex parte letter.  In re Boothe, 110 So. 3d 1002 (Louisiana 2013).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the hearing panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $50,000 for, while a candidate, (1) in campaign literature and during an interview on a radio station, demonstrating a commitment to the prosecution side of criminal cases, exhibiting a hostility or apparent hostility towards defendants in criminal cases, cloaking her entire candidacy in the umbrella of law enforcement, and portraying herself as a pro-prosecution/pro-law enforcement judge while characterizing her opponent as not holding criminals accountable; (2) knowingly misrepresenting that her opponent, the incumbent, had not revoked a defendant’s bond at an emergency bond hearing when, in fact, he had revoked the bond; and (3) knowingly giving the false and misleading impression that a defendant to whom her opponent had granted bond had been charged with attempted murder and burglary when, in fact, no such charges had been pending.  Inquiry Concerning Kinsey, 842 So. 2d 77 (Florida 2003).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 120 days without pay for (1) establishing a worthless checks program that did not meet statutory requirements; (2) conducting arraignments and accepting guilty pleas when no prosecutor was present; (3) accepting requests to “fix” traffic tickets and/or other offenses and having a court employee contact the prosecutor’s office to relay the messages; and (4) holding a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer in contempt for failing to appear as a witness in a criminal case, dismissing the criminal charge against the defendant, notifying Wal-Mart that its employee had ignored a subpoena, causing her to be fired, and misrepresenting to Wal-Mart that its employee had lied to him about why she did not appear in court.  In re Fuselier, 837 So. 2d 1257 (Louisiana 2003).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the Commission on Judicial Performance but disagreeing with its recommendation of a public reprimand, the Mississippi Supreme Court privately reprimanded a judge for, as a member of an association of concerned citizens, participating in writing a petition requesting the removal of a deputy sheriff from the county sheriff’s office.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Justice Court Judge S.S., 834 So. 2d 31 (Mississippi 2003).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Reviewing a recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for (1) using his judicial assistant’s work time and other public resources for personal and campaign-related business, and (2) using official letterhead to correspond with people, companies, and government agencies.  Inquiry Concerning Gallagher, 951 P.2d 705 (Oregon 1998).
  • Adopting the recommendations of the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly admonished a supreme court justice for, during his campaign, sending a letter asking for an endorsement to members of a county labor council committee.  In the Matter of Starcher, 501 S.E.2d 772 (West Virginia 1998).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for taking the questions and the answer key for a written assessment from her mentor’s materials during new judge orientation; the Court also ordered the judge to take judicial ethics courses and to pay the costs and attorney’s fees for the formal hearing.  In the Matter of Aboud, Order (Arizona Supreme Court December 4, 2017).
  • The Illinois Courts Commission ordered the retirement of a judge it found mentally unable to perform her duties.  In re Turner, Order (Illinois Courts Commission December 1, 2017).
  • In lieu of formal disciplinary proceedings and based on the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for injudicious behavior involving his estranged wife that prompted law enforcement investigations.  Public Admonition of Day (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications December 29, 2017).
  • The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a former judge for entering a general order declaring that “under no circumstance” would the adoption of a child by a homosexual be in the child’s best interest.  In re the Matter of Nance, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and final order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission December 19, 2017).
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation and consent to discipline, the New Mexico Supreme Court suspended a judge for 3 weeks without pay and publicly censured him for ex parte communications in numerous cases, misusing the contempt power, failing to cooperate with supervisory personnel from the administrative office of the courts, allowing his judicial decisions and conduct to be influenced by public opinion, fear of criticism, and/or political interests, and other misconduct; his suspension was deferred on condition he complete a supervised probation and formal mentorship for the remainder of his term and complete 2 National Judicial College webcast courses.  In the Matter of Walton, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court December 18, 2017).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for undermining the right to counsel in 3 cases, conveying an appearance of bias, eliciting incriminatory responses from a defendant at arraignment, making discourteous and threatening comments, destroying court records without authorization, and holding extra-judicial positions (court clerk and fire police officer) that were incompatible with judicial office.  In the Matter of Kline, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 26, 2017).
  • Agreeing with the findings and recommendation of a panel of the Board of Professional Conduct based on a stipulation, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a magistrate for asserting her status in an attempt to avoid arrest during a traffic stop.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Williams, 92 N.E.3d 859 (Ohio 2017).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended a former judge from the practice of law for his conviction, based on a guilty plea, to 1 count of attempted felonious assault and 1 count of domestic violence for conduct while he was a judge.  State Bar Association v. Mason, 94 N.E.3d 556 (Ohio 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for setting a $4 billion bond for a murder suspect and magistrating her own son; the Commission also ordered that the judge receive 2 hours of instruction on magistration with a mentor.  Public Reprimand of Brown and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 19, 2017).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for stating during a hearing, “we don’t know whether he’s some white guy like me making a threat or somebody who’s, you know, more likely to be a gangster.”  In re North, Stipulation, agreement, and order of admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 8, 2017).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for driving under the influence.  In re Dingledy, Stipulation, agreement, and order of reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 8, 2017).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for inadvertently discussing the substance of a case in a casual, ex parte conversation with a court bailiff.  Bassett, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for making statements about the need for law enforcement to issue more citations in a presentation to the county board of supervisors about productivity credits for the courts.  Basteen, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for sending an email and initiating a telephone conversation with a psychologist to attempt to influence a family member’s custody dispute in another state.  Gottsfield, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for making statements impugning the integrity and professional conduct of an attorney appearing before him and making improper sarcastic remarks.  McClennen, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for providing incorrect information about her educational qualifications for her on-line judicial biography, inflating her qualifications on her resume, and falsely claiming to have completed or been excused from judicial training.  DeForest, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for issuing delayed rulings and then back-dating the orders so that the rulings would not appear delayed.  Peterson, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for filing a lawsuit on behalf of herself and her husband, clearly designating herself as counsel of record for both parties.  Segal, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a hearing officer for screaming repeatedly at individuals in the courtroom during 2 hearings; the Commission also directed her to attend the judicial demeanor portion of new judge orientation.  Martinez, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct December 4, 2012).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for remarks he made while sentencing a defendant convicted of rape and other sexual assault that reflected outdated, biased, and insensitive views about sexual assault victims.  In the Matter Concerning Johnson, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 13, 2012).
  • Approving an agreement for discipline by consent, based on stipulations, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended a judge for 5 days without pay for, without complying with the law and court rules, holding 28 individuals in direct contempt and imposing sanctions for allegedly having their cell phones turned on in the courtroom or slamming the courtroom door or other rude behavior while leaving the courtroom.  In the Matter of Stone, 56 A.3d 1244 (Maryland 2012).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for representing in 3 private legal matters an officer of the municipality where he sat.  In the Matter of Obuch, 56 A.3d 863 (New Jersey 2012).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for failing to report the counsel for the public administrator to law enforcement and disciplinary authorities and continuing to award him legal fees despite knowing that he had taken advance legal fees without court approval and/or fees in excess of the guidelines.  In the Matter of Holzman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 13, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) making an ex parte hospital visit to a juvenile in a delinquency proceeding, (2) being discourteous to a probation supervisor, (3) being discourteous to a lawyer, and (4) issuing a decision in a custody and visitation matter after foreclosing cross-examination by the parties and denying the attorneys an opportunity to be heard.  In the Matter of Buchanan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 11, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for physically assaulting his girlfriend.  In the Matter of Horton, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 10, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making remarks that presumed a young defendant’s guilt, characterizing the defendant’s alleged conduct as “thuggery,” taunting him, questioning him about drugs he allegedly threw away, responding in kind to the defendant’s use of profane language, continuing the exchange of taunts and insults even after he had agreed to recuse himself, and convicting the defendant without a plea or trial.  In the Matter of McLeod, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 11, 2012).
  • The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for losing his temper during a sentencing hearing, over-reacting to a juvenile’s showing of disrespect in a second case, engaging in a demeaning and personal tirade against a juvenile in a third case, and making gratuitous comments about paternity tests, the Soviet Union, and the TV show CSI at a hearing on a motion for an order of protection in fourth case.  In re Wulle, Decision and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 14, 2012).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a retired judge for presiding over matters involving friends and giving them favorable treatment and trying to influence other judicial officers and police in their handling of matters concerning his friends; the Commission also barred the judge from receiving an assignment, appointment, or reference of work from any California state court.  Inquiry Concerning Simpson, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 9, 2002).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a retired judge for (1) a pattern of inappropriate sexual conduct toward a female deputy county counsel, including writing “relax” on her hand, fastening a button on her suit in the courtroom, and kissing her in his chambers; (2) attempting to intimidate potential witnesses during the investigation of allegations regarding his sexual conduct; (3) having his bailiff handcuff a court interpreter as a joke when she was late; and (4) improperly attempting to use his office to intercede in a pending matter on behalf of an acquaintance.  Inquiry Concerning Block, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 9, 2002).  The Commission also barred the judge from receiving an assignment, appointment, or reference of work from any California state court.
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for taking action in his son’s criminal case by, after his son advised him that his son needed additional time to prepare for a hearing, obtaining the court file from the clerk’s office and making an entry indicating that the case was being continued at the judge’s request.  Public Admonition of Scheinberger (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications December 17, 2002).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) angrily disputing traffic tickets issued to his son with the officer who issued the tickets and the officer’s superior; (2) intervening in his son’s arrest by confronting the arresting officer; and (3) returning a small claims form when it was initially filed, adjourning the hearing without notifying the plaintiffs, and recusing himself without reassigning the case.  In the Matter of Canary, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 26, 2002).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) acting as an advocate for her grandson when police officers were executing a search warrant, questioning the officer who was in charge of the search, conveying her grandson’s denial of wrongdoing to the officer, objecting to the participation of an officer with whom she had a poor relationship, and asking why she had not been given advance notice of the search; and (2) giving a misleading reason to the police commission board for having dismissed a criminal charge against a defendant.  In the Matter of Leonard, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 26, 2002).
  • Based on a referee’s findings of fact and conclusions and a joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) performing legal services for a former client, using court facilities and personnel to perform those services, and failing to report the fee he received on his income tax return and to the court clerk; (2) representing his sister-in-law, his friend, and his cousin in real estate transactions, using court personnel and court facilities in some instances; (3) writing ex parte letters to the police chief to obtain information about pending matters; and (4) presiding over 2 cases after engaging in ex parte communications with relatives of the defendant in which he obtained personal information.  In the Matter of Ramich, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 27, 2002).
  • Based on a referee’s findings of fact and conclusions and a joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a part-time judge for (1) presiding over 2 cases in which a party or a member of the party’s immediate family was a client of the judge’s law firm; (2) in 6 proceedings, conveying an erroneous impression that he was presiding over a client’s matters; (3) in 3 cases, representing defendants notwithstanding that the charges originated in his court; (4) acting as an attorney in a proceeding in his own court; and (5) his clerk’s issuance of 4 notices to a defendant, over the judge’s signature, stating that a warrant would be issued for the defendant’s arrest if he did not appear in court to pay the judgment entered against him in a small claims case.  In the Matter of Miller, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 30, 2002).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) contacting the police department at the request of a friend, identifying himself as a judge, and advising a dispatcher that the police should issue an appearance ticket to a defendant, rather than serve an arrest warrant; (2) in a confrontation with the highway superintendent, stating that he would impose the maximum sentence if the superintendent or a snowplow operator appeared in his court; and (3) issuing a warrant in a case charging housing code violations on property leased by his friend.  In the Matter of Kolbert, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 26, 2002).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) presiding in numerous proceedings involving relatives and acquaintances, disposing of several cases following ex parte communications or contrary to law, and (2) sitting near her relatives in court during a felony hearing for her relative.  In the Matter of Thwaits, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 30, 2002).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for, in 18 cases, re-sentencing to jail defendants who had not paid fines without holding a hearing or advising the defendants of their right to apply for such a hearing as required by statute.  In the Matter of Cox, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 30, 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for issuing an invalid arrest warrant for the non-existent offense of “false accusations” and using the police to place the individual charged in custody even after being informed that there was no such offense.  Public Reprimand of Ochoa (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for issuing an order directing a child’s principal and teacher not to allow the child’s mother to pick up or make contact with the child even though the judge did not have the authority to issue such an order.  Public Reprimand of Ochoa (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a justice of the peace for displaying on his office door a poster that stated in bold letters “Re-Elect ‘98” and contained the caricatures and names of county elective office holders, at least one of whom was in a contested election.  Public Admonition of Ochoa (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2002).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct based on a stipulation, the Washington Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay and publicly censured her for delay in deciding cases and signing affidavits stating that no case assigned to her was awaiting decision after 90 days, affidavits that were a prerequisite to obtaining her salary.  In the Matter of Van Nuys, Order (Washington Supreme Court December 5, 2002).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for 3 ex parte contacts with a defense attorney in a capital murder case, for example, asking if she had applied for investigator expenses and making suggestions related to defense strategies. Public Admonishment of Maciel (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 1, 1997).
  • The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for releasing a defendant being held on drug trafficking charges on his own recognizance without giving the prosecution a chance to be heard and making an unsubstantiated entry in the record that the release was due to the state’s failure to proceed. Admonition of Evrard (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications December 31, 1997).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) without fundamental constitutional and procedural safeguards, ordering the arrest of a woman who had failed to pay an installment of a statutory surcharge in a case involving a $1.50 cab fare and sentencing her to 89 days in jail; (2) making callous comments about domestic abuse crimes, such as, “every woman needs a good pounding every now and then;” (3) failing to disclose in a civil suit brought by a dentist for an unpaid bill that the plaintiff was his wife’s dentist; and (4) loudly and rudely criticizing a woman who complained to the court clerk about the amount of the fine the judge had imposed on her husband for dog-control violations. In the Matter of Roberts, 689 N.E.2d 911 (New York 1997).
  • Rejecting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that removal was the appropriate sanction, the New York Court of Appeals publicly censured a judge for disposing of 2 criminal cases without affording the prosecution the right to be heard and giving evasive and disingenuous testimony before the Commission. In the Matter of Skinner, 690 N.E.2d 484 (New York 1997).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making intemperate remarks and engaging in an intemperate diatribe that included name-calling and dehumanizing remarks. In the Matter of Hannigan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 1997).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for attempting to coerce guilty pleas in traffic cases, failing to hold public court sessions as required by law, and his practice of receiving ex parte communications from police officers about the merits of traffic cases before him, including representations that the actual speed that defendants had been driving was greater than the speed charged. In the Matter of Westcott, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 1997).
  • Based on a stipulation of facts and the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for (1) making handwritten entries of “guilty” in the cases of 2 individuals who had previously indicated their intent to plead “not guilty;” (2) attempting to have a defendant plead guilty even though she knew that the defendant was represented by counsel and that the counsel was not present in court; (3) sentencing a defendant to a 45-day active sentence but refusing to credit the defendant with jail time served pending disposition as required by law; and (4) making statements and taking actions, in and out of court, that could be considered by some as less than patient, dignified, and courteous to attorneys, witnesses, litigants, and court personnel. In re Renfer, 493 S.E.2d 434 (North Carolina 1997).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for rude and inappropriate statements during a sentencing hearing, for example, stating “to some extent I think ‘dumb-a**’ should be engraved on his forehead.”  Ditsworth, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 13, 2017).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a judge for 60 days without pay, fined him $5,000, to be paid to an anti-bullying organization, and ordered him to submit to a psychiatric exam for (1) making comments to a reporter about 2 pending cases to protect his re-election bid; (2) refusing to vacate a hearing in a case in which a motion for recusal was pending and advising a party to file a complaint against opposing counsel with the State Bar; and (3) failing to accord plaintiff’s counsel the right to be heard during a hearing, repeatedly using intemperate language and yelling at her, directing that she be handcuffed, and holding her in contempt.  In the Matter of Potter, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline November 22, 2017).  The Commission also ordered the judge to complete a judicial education course on dealing with difficult parties and attorneys, to write letters of apology to 2 attorneys, and to perform 10 hours of community service with the Southern Nevada Antibullying Council, which supports the school district’s anti-bulling program, or with a similar organization.
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, after arraigning a defendant and entering an order of protection, receiving unsolicited ex parte information from 2 sources claiming that the defendant had violated the order of protection, failing to disclose the communications, repeating the information as fact during a pre-trial conference, and reiterating the accusations when he accepted a plea agreement, sentenced the defendant, and issued a 6-month order of protection.  In the Matter of Curran, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 14, 2017).
  • Affirming the Court of Judicial Discipline, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the removal of a judge for seeking the advice of another judge about her son’s case and acquiescing in his offer to communicate ex parte with the judge who was handling the case.  In re Roca, 173 A.3d 1176 (Pennsylvania 2017).
  • Affirming the Court of Judicial Discipline, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a judge’s removal for listening to another judge’s requests for favorable treatment for parties in 3 cases.  In re Segal, 173 A.3d 603 (Pennsylvania 2017).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) threatening to end a house arrest program if a defendant’s attorney did not withdraw an objection and (2) entering an order giving 30 days credit toward completion of a sentence to any male inmate who received a vasectomy and any female inmate who received a birth control implant.  Letter to Benningfield (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct November 15, 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for his treatment of prospective jurors and his use of the contempt power against lawyers; the Commission also ordered the judge to take 8 hours of additional education.  Public Reprimand of Aguilar and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 6, 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) communicating ex parte with the judge presiding over her nephew’s criminal case and voluntarily testifying as a character witness at his probation revocation hearing and (2) shaming and reprimanding jurors for their guilty verdict.  Public Reprimand of Hawthorne (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 9, 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for his exchange with an umpire at his son’s baseball game in which he inappropriately and unnecessarily injected his judicial position; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Warren and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 10, 2017).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for (1) failing to give a defendant a jury trial as he had timely requested and to respond to the allegations and (2) publicly endorsing a candidate for appointment for magistrate and commenting on an impending matter against a former magistrate.  Public Admonishment of Halloran (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission November 2, 2017).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former magistrate for ex parte communications with assistant prosecutors about cases in which she was presiding and for failing to ensure that her staff complied with the restraints on communication with law enforcement and potential witnesses.  In the Matter of Yeager (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission November 30, 2017).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on a joint motion to resolve charges, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded and censured a judge for failing to recuse himself from a traffic violation case in which his son was the defendant and dismissing the case.  In the Matter of Durward, Reprimand and Censure (Alabama Court of the Judiciary November 21, 2012).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct and a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for accompanying his niece while she collected nominating petition signatures for a candidate and for speaking at a political meeting at which one of the subjects was whether to adopt a resolution supporting the recall of his brother, a state senator.  In the Matter of Pearce, Order (Arizona Supreme Court November 26, 2012).
  • With the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for assuming the role of the prosecutor when she attempted to negotiate a resolution to a defendant’s case after the defendant inquired about the status of his traffic infraction ticket and driver’s license suspension and for several ex parte conversations with the prosecutor about the case.  Public Admonition of Hagerty (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications November 19, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a judge for telling a defendant who had questioned the bond the judge set, “I’ll beat you’re a** if you call me a liar.”  In the Matter of Martin, 734 S.E.2d 165 (South Carolina 2012).