Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for, while a candidate, criticizing her opponent under the guise of a fictitious identity in a comment to an on-line newspaper story.  Segal, Amended Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct November 30, 2010).
  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent in which the judge agreed to tender her irrevocable resignation within 5 days, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) allowing herself to be videotaped while conducting proceedings in her courtroom to promote herself for a role in a potential television entertainment program and telling an attorney representing the producer that she would set her more interesting cases on the day of the filming; (2) making numerous improper remarks and engaging in improper conduct while court proceedings were being filmed; (3) a pattern of other improper conduct, including making demeaning and discourteous remarks regarding litigants, court attorneys, and others; (4) making remarks in court disparaging the court clerical staff; and (5) placing a defendant into custody for contempt without affording her due process or complying with the legal requirements for contempt.  Inquiry Concerning Salcido (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 10, 2010).
  • Based on a complaint by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for creating an appearance of impropriety by agreeing to conduct a special bond hearing on a Saturday afternoon for the brother of a long-time friend and former client who was well-known in county politics.  In re Chmiel, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 19, 2010).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court removed a judge for (1) sharing a hotel suite during a judges’ meeting with a 20-year-old female who had been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and who was taking part in the judge’s alternative sentencing program and (2) operating alternative sentencing programs that were not approved by the solicitor’s office as required by an order of the Court.  In the Matter of Evans, 702 S.E.2d 557 (South Carolina 2010).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate who had pled guilty to state charges of misconduct in office for engaging in ex parte communications with certain defendants; using his judicial position to advance the private interests of a litigant; using a procedure for handling fines and bond services for certain defendants that was not in accordance with the orders of the Chief Justice; and appropriating public funds for his own use.  In the Matter of Love, 702 S.E.2d 115 (South Carolina 2010).
  • The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for a delay of 10 years and 11 months in entering a decision in a case.  Public Reprimand of Russell (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary November 29, 2010).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the removal of a judge for engaging in numerous and repeated ex parte communications with experts retained by the parties or appointed by her in child custody proceedings and appointing her first cousin as the mediator in a case without informing the parties of their relationship.  In the Matter of Fine, 13 P.3d 400 (Nevada 2000).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who had continued to serve as secretary/treasurer and director of a corporation after becoming a judge and who had failed to disqualify himself from cases involving an attorney who was making lease payments or mortgage payments to the judge as principal of the corporation.  In the Matter of Torraca, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 7, 2000).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s order of public reprimand of a judge who had on-the-record, in the courtroom criticized jurors in 2 cases for their verdicts.  In re Young, Order (Utah Supreme Court November 7, 2000).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation in which the judge agreed to resign, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) his treatment of 2 witnesses in a case; (2) presiding over a case in which the defendant was the judge’s brother-in-law and transferring the case and recalling a bench warrant after an ex parte contact with the defendant; and (3) writing a defendant whom the judge believed had knowledge of property stolen from the judge, “if you know where by stuff is – I will let you out — & Dismiss your case.”   In re Colby, Stipulation, Agreement and Order of Censure (Washington State Commission November 30, 2000).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for his treatment of a police officer who had given him a ticket and for questioning an attorney ex parte in his chambers about an unflattering newspaper article concerning him.  Re Steinhardt, 663 So. 2d 616 (Florida 1995).
  • Upholding the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for her involvement with someone who was engaged in drug-dealing and money-laundering schemes.  In the Matter of Backal, 660 N.E.2d 1104 (New York 1995).
  • Accepting a settlement agreement, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly censured a former judge for (1) on a number of occasions, approaching a court employee, speaking to her with lewd and vulgar language, touching and kissing her without her consent, and using language and behavior that were offensive and sexual in nature; (2) on a number of occasions, making offensive comments to another court employee that could be reasonably construed as sexual harassment; and (3) on at least 2 occasions, being under the influence of alcohol while on the bench and making offensive and inappropriate remarks to litigants and/or attorneys appearing before him.  In the Matter of Hey, 452 S.E.2d 24 (West Virginia 1995).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 180 days without pay for (1) presiding over a case for over 3 years even though he had an oil and gas lease agreement with one of the defendants and had a dispute with the company; (2) making numerous calls to the city police department; (3) numerous inappropriate interactions with elected officials and city employees; (4) numerous inappropriate communications with a TV channel manager complaining that programs were politically motivated; (5) leaving voicemail messages for an attorney who regularly practiced before him in which he referred to the attorney as a “coward” and “prick;” (6) inappropriate political activity; (7) 2 months after a case was voluntarily dismissed, engaging in an ex parte communication with an attorney in the case and then holding a status hearing during which he questioned another attorney about his motivation for bringing the lawsuit and accused him of engaging in unethical behavior by issuing improper subpoenas; (8) despite expressing interest in the outcome of a challenge to an election for city commission and criticizing the incumbent candidate, entering a final judgment disqualifying a candidate and naming the successful candidate; (9) numerous inappropriate communications with employees of a newspaper; and (10) presiding over 17 cases in which a company or one of its subsidiaries was a party even though he had a financial relationship with the company and testifying under oath in a temporary suspension hearing before the Commission that he had disclosed the relationship on the record even though there was no disclosure in the pleadings or recorded hearings.  In re Combs, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission October 1, 2015).
  • The Minnesota Supreme Court removed a judge for failing to reside within his judicial district and knowingly making a false statement regarding his residency in his affidavit of candidacy. Inquiry into Pendleton, 870 N.W.2d 367 (Minnesota 2015).
  • • Following a de novo proceeding, a Texas Special Court of Review publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) a pattern of leaving the bench and failing to communicate with counsel and defendants about when or whether she would return; (2) refusing to allow an attorney to appear in her courtroom while he was attired in shorts due to a visible medical impairment; (3) ordering her bailiff to detain a prosecutor who was 8 months pregnant to prevent her from taking a break; (4) referring to an attorney as a “liar” in open court and ordering the bailiff to remove him; (5) filing a motion for reconsideration of her recusal and communicating with the presiding administrative judge about subsequent recusal; and (6) improperly requiring some defendants to pay a portion of fines or costs before she would accept their plea bargains. In re Mullin, Opinion (Special Court of Review Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court October 21, 2015).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated resolution and recommendation, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for repeatedly engaging in ex parte communications and conducting his own factual investigation in a case.  Inquiry Concerning Andress, Order (Arizona Supreme Court October 26, 2010).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for causing a collision while driving his vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  Public Admonishment of Doyle (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 21, 2010).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to decide 2 cases within 90 days as required by statute; 1 case was decided 119 days after submission; the second 138 days after submission.  Press release (Johnson) (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards October 13, 2010).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to disqualify himself from cases involving his nephews, his employers’ sons, and his co-justice.  In the Matter of Menard, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 13, 2010).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for telling the town board that, unless his salary was increased, he would not preside over the court dates scheduled by his retired co-justice and would dismiss the cases scheduled on the next such date.  In the Matter of Peters, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 6, 2010).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge who operated a motor vehicle after consuming a significant quantity of alcohol and was convicted of driving while intoxicated.  In the Matter of Martineck, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 12, 2010).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for (1) failing to appear for sentencing on a dog-running-at-large violation and failing for 7 months to pay the fine imposed; (2) serving simultaneously as judge and court clerk of the same court; and (3) participating in fund-raising on behalf of her and her son’s sports teams.  In the Matter of Post, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 12, 2010).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Commission publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for failing to disqualify himself from a harassment case when he was acquainted with the defendant and the alleged victim and had personal knowledge of the underlying facts.  In the Matter of Trickler, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 7, 2010).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for intervening in an impending proceeding involving his business tenant and a long-time acquaintance and promoting a financial settlement rather than disqualify himself from the case.  In the Matter of Dugan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 6, 2010).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a former judge for (1) violating the due process rights of defendants in 6 support cases and 1 order of protection case by failing, inter alia, to advise them of the right to counsel and to afford an opportunity to be heard, notwithstanding a letter of dismissal and caution he had received and (2) making offensive remarks of a sexual nature to and about a litigant.  In the Matter of Abramson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 26, 2010).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge from the practice of law for 6 months for, in response to reports that an elderly witness could not be found, finding that the defendant had engaged in obstruction of justice and misusing the Amber Alert system to attract media attention; the Court stayed the suspension on the condition that the judge commit no misconduct for 6 months.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Gaul, 936 N.E.2d 28 (Ohio 2010).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and misconduct and the recommended of the Board of Commissioners on Grievance and Discipline based on the parties’ consent-to-discipline agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for using marijuana.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Bowling, 937 N.E.2d 95 (Ohio 2010).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge following his guilty plea to a charge of criminal mischief arising out of an incident in which he allegedly “keyed” his neighbor’s car.  Public Warning of Densen (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 14, 2010).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a former judge for making himself available to 2 attorneys with whom he had a special friendship and granting their requests in 6 cases to release defendants on their own recognizance, reduce bail, or modify a defendant’s probation.  Inquiry Concerning Cardenas, Decision and Order Imposing Public Admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 3, 2000).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for performing accounting services for the parish sheriff’s office, failing to disclose his arrangement with the sheriff’s office, and misleading the Commission about the continuing financial relationship.  In re McInnis, 769 So. 2d 1186 (Louisiana 2000).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who, for over 7 years, failed to file his financial disclosure statements with the ethics commission for the unified court systems within the time required by the rules of the chief judge.  In the Matter of Russell, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 31, 2000).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s publicly reprimand of a judge for conduct that could reasonably be perceived as an attempt to influence the outcome of a speeding ticket he had received.  In re Bylsma, Order (Utah Supreme Court October 20, 2000).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) intentionally making false and misleading statements to Commission investigators during an interview; (2) presiding over a traffic infraction hearing involving a person with whom he had an intimate personal relationship and dismissing the citation based on the relationship; (3) presiding over matters involving a party and/or witness with whom he had an intimate personal relationship; and (4) presiding over a matter involving a defendant he had previously represented in a different matter and relying on knowledge gained from that relationship in granting leniency to the defendant.  In re Conroy, Stipulation, agreement and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 6, 2000).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Following the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the California Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) being habitually tardy in starting court sessions; (2) failing to report several loans on her annual statement of economic interests; (3) failing to list at least 6 creditors on the voluntary petition of bankruptcy she filed with her husband; (4) becoming personally involved as an advocate for her former gardener in a felony case over which she was presiding; (5) presiding over misdemeanor cases against a woman from whom she had borrowed $4,500 and the woman’s nephews, making statements or taking action in those cases to ingratiate herself to the woman, and telling the woman she (the judge) could not repay the loan but would “work off” the debt by helping to prepare a petition for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the woman’s husband, who had been convicted of federal felony narcotics trafficking offenses; and (6) asking the woman and her husband not to cooperate in the Commission’s investigation.  Doan v. Commission on Judicial Performance, 902 P.2d 272 (California 1995).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for issuing a bench warrant for the immediate arrest of a witness whom the judge should have known had not been properly served.  Inquiry Concerning Graziano, 661 So. 2d 819 (Florida 1995).
  • Following the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) refusing to set appeal bonds for 2 misdemeanor defendants when the law clearly obligated her to do so, (2) issuing bench warrants for the arrests of 2 misdemeanor defendants when their attorney had been late even though the defendants had been in court, and (3) forcing a defendant to enter a plea of guilty in the absence of his counsel.  In the Matter of Vaughn, 462 S.E.2d 728 (Georgia 1995).
  • The Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications ordered a judge to cease and desist based on findings that the judge had asked witnesses in a criminal trial inappropriate questions, treated the defendant’s lawyers inappropriately, and injected her personal opinion.  Inquiry Concerning Watson, Cease and Desist Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications October 10, 1995).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for comments from the bench in a number of proceedings that reflected a pattern of inappropriate, insensitive, and/or offensive comments.  In the Matter of Warren, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 13, 1995).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for a pattern of rudeness and disrespect toward lawyers, parties, witnesses, victims, and court personnel. Inquiry Concerning Haymans, 767 So. 2d 1173 (Florida 2000).
  • Based on an agreed statement of fact, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, during his campaign for another court, implying in campaign advertisements that he was the incumbent judge, making statements that appeared to commit him with respect to abortion issues likely to come before his court, and making improper campaign contributions. In the Matter of Mullin, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 25, 2000).
  • Based on stipulations of fact in lieu of a trial, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge from office and disbarred him for his conviction on a federal felony charge of conspiracy to violate civil rights. In re Melograne, 759 A.2d 475 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2000).
  • Agreeing with the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former municipal court judge for (1) resigning from the California bar as a result of disciplinary action, (2) his conviction of credit card fraud, supplying false tax returns, false employment information, and false social security numbers in applying for a loan, filing false federal income tax returns, mail fraud, and money laundering, and (3) failing to respond to the investigation. In the Matter of Hamer, 537 S.E.2d 552 (South Carolina 2000).
  • Agreeing with the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a non-lawyer magistrate for, while serving as a municipal judge, giving favorable treatment to 2 defendants. In the Matter of Sessions, 538 S.E.2d 1 (South Carolina 2000).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge who had converted $6,150 in court funds to his personal use. In the Matter of Sterling, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 1995).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who had served as an officer and director of 2 for-profit corporations while sitting as a full-time judge and failed to disclose his interest in the corporations on ethics forms. In the Matter of Bell, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for diverting funds from a not-for-profit corporation connected to the court to a law professor for research expenses that they had agreed to share in their private authorship of a hornbook on New York estates administration and failing to supervise the hiring of interns who worked in the court and were paid by corporate funds, which led to a patronage system for the relatives of full-time court employees. In the Matter of Radigan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 1995).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for his tone during an eviction trial, failing to afford either party a fair opportunity to be heard, and simultaneously entering judgment for the defendant and dismissing the case without prejudice. Fletcher, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 14, 2015).
  • Adopting the findings of 3 masters, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for calling the county jail and ordering the own-recognizance release of a person he knew socially. Inquiry Concerning Petrucelli, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 18, 2015).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for making improper contributions to political organizations and candidates directly and through his law firm. In the Matter of Sakowski, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 20, 2015).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for improper contributions to political organizations and candidates through his law firm and his spouse. In the Matter of Fleming, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 20, 2015).
  • Based on the judge’s admission of the factual allegations, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a judge from office for not filing state and federal tax returns for 5 years, failing to remit approximately $130 in sales tax owed by a shoe store she owned, opening the store without a license, and pleading guilty to 3 misdemeanors (for dismissing several of her own tickets) and 1 summary offense (the business license violation). In re Ballentine, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 4, 2015).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former supreme court justice from office based on her conviction in state court of theft/diversion of service, criminal conspiracy, and misapplication of entrusted property. In re Orie Melvin, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 14, 2015).