Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for serving on the board of directors of an organization to which her court referred litigants for services. Lorona, Disposition of Complaint (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 19, 2014).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a former judge for treating attorneys in a sarcastic and belittling manner in 2 cases. Public Admonishment of Sohigian (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 13, 2014).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving under the influence. Inquiry Concerning Sheehan, 139 So. 3d 290 (Florida 2014).
  • Based on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission removed a judge from office for a mental disability that persistently interfered with the performance of her judicial duties. In re Brim, Order (Illinois Courts Commission May 9, 2014).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge without pay for 30 days for (1) permitting ex parte communications from defense attorneys about whether defendants would be arrested under warrants or summoned to appear in court; (2) entering orders in cases in which she was acquainted with a party; (3) addressing parties in court in an undignified and discourteous manner; (4) threatening the sheriff and his deputies with contempt and jail time in an attempt to influence the assignment of bailiffs in her court; and (5) ordering 2 individuals held for U.S. immigration and custom enforcement without legal basis. In re Ward, Agreed Order of Suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission May 12, 2014).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days for engaging in numerous ex parte communications with the parties in a small claims case, having her constable obtain the police report of an altercation between the parties, failing to disqualify herself despite the ex parte communications and independent fact-finding, and allowing her constable to “assist” in the proceedings before her and in her decision-making. In re Foret, 144 So.3d 1028 (Louisiana 2014).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were accepted by the judge and based on stipulations, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for pursuing a personal relationship with the victim in a domestic violence matter pending before him and fielding questions from the victim concerning the matter. In the Matter of Montes, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 22, 2014). The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s misconduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with an investigative panel, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify herself from a case in which an attorney who had been her campaign treasurer and her personal attorney appeared and for her comments in several cases. Re Solomon, Letter of reprimand (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 16, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) an adversarial relationship with the director of the county community supervision and corrections department that improperly influenced his conduct and judgment and (2) his demeaning treatment of a prosecutor during a trial, including threatening to use duct tape on her, failing to rule on prosecution motions, and preventing her from conducting voir dire. Public Reprimand of Tittle (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 21, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) entering orders of deferred disposition that did not include an assessment of court costs as required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and failing to maintain court records, receipts, or bank statements to document the court costs allegedly collected by court staff; (2) entering orders dismissing cases without notice to or a motion from the city prosecutor, as required by law; (3) entering orders indicating that he was holding trials and finding defendants not guilty without notifying the city prosecutor of trial settings and/or giving the prosecutor an opportunity to appear; (4) conducting his own independent investigation about whether there was probable cause for a citation; and (5) failing to supervise his staff and ensuring that the court’s business was conducted in a timely, efficient, and lawful manner. Public Reprimand of Cedillo (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 15, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a former judge for failing to disclose expenditures made by others on behalf of her campaign and to file campaign finance reports, as required by law. Public Warning of Cruz (Texas State Commission on Conduct Judicial May 16, 2014).
  • The Vermont Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for a 14-month delay in scheduling a hearing on a grandfather’s motion to terminate a father’s parental rights. In re Balivet, 98 A.3d 794 (Vermont 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly censured a judge for threatening an attorney with contempt, using profanity. Public Censure of Moore (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary May 1, 2009).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly censured a judge for ordering a drug test for a spectator in his courtroom. Public Censure of Moore (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary May 1, 2009).
  • The Texas Review Tribunal affirmed the public warning of a judge for knowingly failing to timely file campaign finance reports as required by law and ignoring the State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s numerous requests and orders that he respond to its inquiries. In re Priddy, Opinion (Review Tribunal Appointed by the Texas Supreme Court May 18, 2009).
  • Affirming the findings and conclusions of the Judicial Conduct Board, the Vermont Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for his handling of the sale of a county building to a non-profit organization while serving on its board. In re Boardman, 979 A.2d 1010 (Vermont 2009).

 

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to a stipulation, the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission publicly admonished a judge for failing to recuse from cases involving an attorney who had assisted in the settlement of a civil dispute in which the judge had been involved before becoming a judge and failing to disclose the relationship. Inquiry Concerning Glasmann, Informal resolution (Utah Judicial Conduct Commission May 25, 1999).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly censured a former judge who had pled guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana and who had attempted to encourage a witness to be less than candid about the charges. In the Matter of Binkoski, 515 S.E.2d 828 (West Virginia 1999).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals admonished a judge for personally soliciting campaign contributions. In the Matter of Tennant, 516 S.E.2d 496 (West Virginia 1999).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulation, the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to follow the law in 6 cases, (2) improper ex parte orders in 4 cases, (3) chronic tardiness and related misconduct, and (4) discourtesy to court staff; the Board also required the judge to comply with conditions, including submitting a plan to address the causes of his misconduct and identifying a mentor. In the Matter of Cahill, Public reprimand and conditions (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards April 21, 2014).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to supervise his law clerk and approving inaccurate time sheets, (2) refusing to allow a defendant to withdraw his plea, (3) trying a defendant in absentia, and (4) discourtesy to a psychologist; the Board also imposed conditions on the judge including completing an anger management program or therapy, identifying a mentor, and writing a letter of apology to the psychologist. In the Matter of Walters, Public reprimand and conditions (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards April 22, 2014).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, to which the judge consented, the Nebraska Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for instructing jail personnel to release a friend, who had been arrested on a felony drunk driving charge, from jail on his own recognizance before arraignment. In re Complaint Schatz, 845 N.W.2d 273 (Nebraska 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee publicly reprimanded a former judge for statements in a meeting with public defenders that could reasonably be interpreted as manifesting bias based on gender. Lewis, Reprimand (New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee April 1, 2014).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) riding in a police car with a defendant after arraigning him, recommending that the defendant hire an attorney who was the judge’s business partner, giving him legal advice, and presiding over the case; (2) using his judicial title to promote his law firm and business; (3) imposing fines that exceeded the maximum authorized by law; and (4) making improper political contributions. In the Matter of Burke, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct (April 21, 2014).
  • The Tennessee Board on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a former child support magistrate for changing a child’s name from “Messiah,” applying her own religious beliefs in her decision, and publicly commenting on her decision while the case was still pending. In re Ballew, Opinion (Tennessee Board on Judicial Conduct April 25, 2014).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission order, based on a stipulation, publicly reprimanding a judge for yelling at a grandfather in an adoption hearing. In re Andrus, Order (Utah Supreme Court April 23, 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for taking action in a case after being disqualified. Lusk, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct April 7, 2009).
  • Accepting a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for routinely leaving the courthouse for the day before noon and after the conclusion of his calendar without receiving authorization from or notifying his supervising judges; the judge also agreed to tender his irrevocable resignation effective October 2, 2009. Inquiry Concerning Sheldon, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 15, 2009).
  • The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for a delay of 7 years, 5 months, and 21 days in ruling on a petition for post-conviction relief in a capital case. Public Letter to Reprimand of Blackett (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary April 17, 2009).
  • The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for statements about court employees made in open court or the public areas of the clerk’s office. Public Letter of Reprimand to Walton (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary April 13, 2009).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of Jones, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court April 2, 2009). The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s conduct; the summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a justice of the peace for her refusal to accept a forcible detainer action; the Commission also ordered her to obtain 4 hours of instruction with a mentor in addition to her required judicial education. Public Warning of Valadez and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 27, 2009).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for her practice of obtaining witness signatures for marriages from court staff and others who had not witnessed the ceremony. In the Matter of Kato, Stipulation, Agreement and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 10, 2009).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to properly advise criminal defendants of their constitutional and procedural rights, including the right to counsel, at arraignment and probation review hearings; failing to properly accept guilty pleas; failing to record all hearings; and failing to use qualified interpreters. In the Matter of Mendoza, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 10, 2009).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a stipulation, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to decide 32 cases for from 1 to 2 years and to decide 14 other cases for from 2 to nearly 3 years, inaccurately and/or delinquently reporting 34 cases taken under advisement, and completely failing to report the undecided status of 7 cases. In re Wimbish, 733 So.2d 1183 (Louisiana 1999).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a stipulation, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for (1) maintaining a policy and practice of intentionally refusing to set status conferences or issue scheduling orders, (2) failing and/or refusing to timely sign ex parte orders, (3) 1‑year delays in deciding 2 cases, and (4) failing to report 1 case as under advisement. In re Emanuel, 755 So. 2d 862 (Louisiana 1999).
  • Agreeing with the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $1,500 for, contrary to the law, accepting plea bargains that reduced DUI second offense charges to DUI first offense in 3 cases and reduced DUI charges to disorderly conduct in 1 case. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Jones, 735 So. 2d 385 (Mississippi 1999).
  • Approving a statement of agreed facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for circumventing normal procedures in appointing guardians, appointing 2 lawyers as law guardians in a disproportionate number of cases, and failing to scrutinize their bills. In the Matter of Ray, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 26, 1999) (http://cjc.ny.gov/Determinations/R/Ray.Herbert.B.1999.04.26.DET.pdf).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for speaking at governmental meetings and before a planning commission on behalf of real estate partnerships in which he owned an interest. Ohio State Bar Association v. Reid, 708 N.E.2d 193 (Ohio 1999).
  • Adopting the recommendation of a judicial conduct panel, the Wisconsin Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for stating, “I suppose it was too much to ask that your daughter keep her pants on and not behave like a slut” when a woman explained she had not been able to pay her fines because she was caring for her daughter’s children and making statements in his letter of apology that manifested a bias based on socioeconomic status. In the Matter of Michelson, 591 N.W.2d 843 (Wisconsin 1999).

Throwback Thursdays

25 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly reproved a judge for stating to a public defender of Japanese-American ancestry: “Do you have something to add to those papers which isn’t in there, some brilliant case you found somewhere in the Upper Tokyo Reports or somewhere that nobody knows about, tell me about it.  Otherwise there is no need to argue over what you already have.”  Letter to Haugner (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 11, 1994).
  • Adopting a stipulation and the recommendation of the Board on Judicial Standards, the Minnesota Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and suspended him for 60 days without pay for (1) on multiple occasions over several years, responding in an angry and undignified manner to staff members who were innocent of any significant dereliction of duty; (2) ignoring staff members whom he had invited into his chambers, to their evident discomfort; and (3) harshly and without justification criticizing the work of his law clerks. In re Rice, 515 N.W.2d 53 (Minnesota 1994).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement with the judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for engaging in a casual and cordial conversation in the courtroom with one of the parties in a case that the other party observed, while the attorneys for both parties were discussing settlement outside the courtroom. In re Slusher, Stipulation and Agreement and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 1, 1994).
  • Agreeing with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Washington Supreme Court removed a judge from office for filing travel vouchers for 4 out-of-state trips on which he conducted minimal judicial business that was wholly incidental to the personal nature of the trips and seeking reimbursement for car and lodging expenses that went beyond that needed for judicial activities. In re Ritchie, 870 P.2d 967 (Washington 1994).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of a 3-judge panel based on a stipulation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 15 days without pay for failing to decide 2 cases for more than 1 year, filing certificates of pending case status for 6 months that falsely reported that he had no cases pending beyond the prescribed period, misrepresenting to the deputy chief judge that 2 decisions had not been entered because a clerk had failed to type them, and making the same misrepresentation to a Commission investigator. In the Matter of Dreyfus, 513 N.W.2d 604 (Wisconsin 1994).