Throwback Thursday

20 year ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for ex parte communications with a defendant and an intemperate outburst in court.  Letter to Hall (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for advising local law enforcement personnel concerning the validity of out-of-county court orders and adopting a policy that law enforcement officials could not execute out-of-county orders without his approval.  Letter to Harkey (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had paid for a car with a check for which his checking account did not have sufficient funds and who had pled nolo contendere to criminal charges relating to the check.  In the Matter of Steel, Final Decision and order (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • Adopting a joint stipulation and recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had been charged with driving while intoxicated.  In re Gausselin, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 18, 1999).
  • Adopting a joint stipulation and recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended a judge for 3 months without pay for (1) criticizing a member of a jury for a not guilty verdict; (2) saying “f**k you” in court to an attorney; (3) withholding a payment voucher to retaliate against a court reporter because she signed a petition regarding him; and (4) on at least 5 occasions, using profanity in referring to other members of the judiciary.  In re Goshgarian, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 18, 1999).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a district court judge for making comments to a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a probation revocation pending before the district court.  Press release (Porter) (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards November 5, 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who had engaged in offensive, undignified, and harassing conduct toward his personal secretary.  In the Matter of Shaw, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 8, 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for (1) failing for over 3 years to file reports and remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth of the month following collection as required by statute; (2) failing to issue receipts for fines, complete dockets, or report cases and remit court funds to the comptroller for the matters that he had handled; and (3) in a small claims case, sending a summons to the defendant that stated that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he did not appear in court in response to the claim.  In the Matter of Kosina, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 9, 1999).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly reproved a judge who had a policy of issuing no-bail bench warrants for all defendants who failed to appear on misdemeanors, despite constitutional and penal code provisions giving individuals a right to bail before conviction with only limited exceptions.  Letter to Kanner (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 21, 1994).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for making sexist and racist remarks while performing her duties; using crude, profane, and inappropriate language when presiding over legal proceedings; and failing to diligently perform the duties of office.  Inquiry Concerning Golden, 645 So. 2d 970 (Florida 1994).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 15 days without pay and fined him $1000 for dismissing a burglary case based on ex parte representations by a defendant and his aunt that the complainant wanted to drop the charge; when the complainant executed a second affidavit for the same offense, going with the defendant to the complainant’s place of employment and telling her there would be a hearing the next day at 11:00 a.m.; and at the hearing, without a prosecutor present, finding there was no probable cause to hold the defendant and dismissing the charge.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Peyton, 645 So. 2d 954 (Mississippi 1994).
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 6 months for, over the objections of defense counsel, permitting the city’s mayor to make a speech that was political and prejudicial to the defendants who were charged with multiple housing violations.  In the Matter of Fenster, 649 A.2d 393 (New Jersey 1994).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly admonished a judge who had entered a polling place while the polls were still open and where he was not registered to vote, which violated a state statute.  In the Matter Harshbarger, 450 S.E.2d 667 (West Virginia 1994).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $500 for refusing to assist a woman seeking a protective order, then returning to her office to do paperwork, and later, agreeing to assist someone else.  In the Matter of Browning, 452 S.E. 2d 34 (West Virginia 1994).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a judge for presiding over a case in which one of the parties was represented by an attorney with whom the judge equally owned all the shares of a corporation that owned 106 acres of land, on which the judge and his family lived and for which he paid no rent.  In the Matter of Means, 452 S.E.2d 696 (West Virginia 1994).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) her conduct and demeanor in injunction, juvenile, and dependency cases; (2) ruling in a way that made it appear she did not know the law or refused to apply it; and (3) appearing on behalf of her sister at her sister’s first appearance after an arrest.  Inquiry Concerning Kautz, 149 So. 3d 681 (Florida 2014).
  • The Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) operating a for-profit business from her judicial chambers using official time and judicial resources; offering to sell the business’s products in the courthouse to lawyers who appeared before her and courthouse employees; promoting the sale of the products on a web-site that included photographs of her in her judicial robes; and using her judicial assistant to promote and produce the products during working hours; (2) devoting less than full time to her judicial duties; (3) failing to pay state sales tax on the sale of her business products and to register the name of her business under the fictitious name law; and (4) demonstrating a lack of candor during the investigation.  Inquiry Concerning Hawkins, 151 So. 3d 1200 (Florida 2014).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 12 months for failing to file her annual financial statements for 3 years, with 6 months deferred conditioned on her filing the statements within 3 months.  In re Myers, 156 So. 3d 11 (Louisiana 2014).
  • Approving an agreement for discipline by consent, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended a judge for 30 days for (1) mocking and ridiculing a criminal defendant and his fiancé in a probation violation hearing and (2) being dismissive, disrespectful, and intemperate toward defense counsel during 2 post-conviction hearings; the Court stayed 25 days of the suspension if the judge successfully completes a 2-year probation.  In the Matter of Mays, Consent order (Maryland Court of Appeals October 21, 2014).
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation agreement, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for calling a magistrate judge to vouch for the character of a defendant in a case and to obtain special treatment for the defendant; the Court also ordered the judge to participate in a formal mentorship and to be on unsupervised probation for 1 year.  In the Matter of Ramos, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court October 14, 2014).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to appoint an interpreter for a Spanish-speaking tenant in a summary eviction.  In the Matter of Merino, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 2, 2014).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for wearing a name badge identifying herself as “Colleen Mary O’Toole, Judge, 11th District Court of Appeals” while she was a judicial candidate and not an incumbent.  In re Judicial Campaign Complaint Against O’Toole, 24 N.E.3d 1114 (Ohio 2014).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge who had been convicted of 12 felonies in federal court based on his participation in the infamous “kids-for-cash scheme,” including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and filing a materially false tax return.  In re Ciavarella, 108 A.3d 983 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2014).
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed without an opinion the decision of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge for (1) lying repeatedly on the questionnaires he submitted to the Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention while running for judicial office and (2) twice being held in contempt in a court case arising from a Philadelphia Board of Ethics complaint against a PAC he represented and, to avoid paying a court-ordered fine, dissipating the PAC’s funds and engaging in delay, obfuscation, and deceit.  In re Nocella, 102 A.3d 422 (Pennsylvania 2014), affirming, Opinion (June 26, 2013) and Sanction order (Court of Judicial Discipline August 5, 2013).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a judge for identifying herself as a judge in a call and letters to the magistrate assigned to her grandson’s case.  In the Matter of Johnson, 763 S.E.2d 812 (South Carolina 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for telling a commissioner that a 12-hour hold should not have been placed on a defendant in a domestic violence case.  Moreland (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct October 22, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) retaliating against 4 attorneys; (2) practicing law on behalf of his girlfriend, misusing government resources to do so, and injecting himself into litigation involving her children; (3) failing to disclose or to recuse from cases involving those with whom he had a close, personal relationship; and (4) lying under oath, engaging in witness tampering, and harassing, bullying, and maligning county officials, including 3 judges.  Public Reprimand of Dupuy (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 23, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and twice gratuitously identifying herself as a judge to the arresting officer.  In re Hitchcock (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to timely decide 3 matters.  In re Sullivan (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2014).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended a judge without pay until the end of her term (December 2016) and censured her for having an extra-marital relationship with the director of the community corrections program and related misconduct.  In the Matter of Wilfong, 765 S.E.2d 283  (West Virginia 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for being argumentative in a case, rarely allowing the complainants to respond, and aggressively cutting them off while stating what he predicted their testimony would be.  Fletcher, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct October 8, 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 retired judge for promoting a plea deal in an ex parte conversation with a defendant’s brother.  In the Matter of Delehey, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court October 6, 2009).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for sentencing a litigant to 5 days in jail for contempt after ordering her from the courtroom, without citing her for contempt, having her returned to the courtroom, following the required procedures, or entering an order that stated facts sufficient to constitute a contempt as required by law.  Public Admonishment of Guy-Schall (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 13, 1999).
  • Adopting factual stipulations in a proposed disposition, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for 9 incidents in which he failed to respect the rights of unrepresented individuals.  Inquiry Concerning Henne, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 13, 1999).
  • Approving the findings and recommendations of the investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded and suspended for 10 days a judge who knew about a theft from a restaurant but attempted to hinder investigating law enforcement.  Inquiry Concerning Wilson, 750 So. 2d 631 (Florida 1999).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded an attorney for, during her candidacy for judge, making knowing misrepresentations about the incumbent judge’s judicial record and failing to maintain the dignity appropriate to the judicial office and act in a manner consistent with the integrity and independence of the judiciary.  In the Matter of Bybee, 716 N.E.2d 957 (Indiana 1999).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) taking possession of certain assets at the request of a friend, knowing or having reason to know that the assets were subject to litigation in another jurisdiction; (2) serving as a director of a business entity and as a trustee on behalf of a non-family member, and accepting payment for those services; (3) failing to report extra-judicial income; (4) accepting judicial pay for time not engaged in official judicial business; and (5) failing to cooperate with the Board’s investigation and making misrepresentations to the Board’s representatives.  Public Reprimand of Ballard (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards October 13, 1999).
  • Agreeing with the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a part-time judge from office for (1) making inappropriate, obscene, and sexist remarks about another judge in the course of his judicial duties, (2) refusing to deal with more than 100 cases over 8 months, (3) permitting an attorney with whom he shared office space, a business telephone, and mailing address  to appear before him in 6 criminal cases over 5 years without disclosing the relationship, (4) permitting a private individual to sit at the bench and make ex parte recommendations about sentencing, and (5) representing his former court clerk in her action against the town in which he served as a judge.  In the Matter of Assini, 720 N.E.2d 882 (New York 1999).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for making financial contributions to the campaign of 2 non-judicial candidates for public office.  In re Michels, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order of Admonishment (Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct October 1, 1999).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended for 30 days without pay a judge who had been tardy in the conduct of court business, had repeatedly failed to timely decide cases, and had failed to competently, fairly, and diligently administer the day-to-day-operations of the court.  In re Braun, 883 P.2d 996 (Arizona 1994).
  • The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) writing 2 letters to the editor of a local newspaper criticizing the criminal justice system and (2) holding a hearing on a child custody matter when he did not have jurisdiction, giving the mother notice only after the hearing began, and forcing her to act as her own attorney.  Inquiry Concerning Miller, 644 So. 2d 75 (Florida 1994).
  • The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, while going over his case list with his partners before he took the bench, misrepresenting the merits of a case and later concealing from his partners that he had negotiated with the insurance company, reached a settlement, and received a fee.  Inquiry Concerning Davey, 645 So. 2d 398 (Florida 1994).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge for sexual harassment of a judicial assistant, engaging in ex parte communications, and intentional abuse directed toward a public defender.  In re McAllister, 646 So. 2d 173 (Florida 1994).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for authoring and mailing a letter on his official court stationery to a probation officer as a character witness and reference on behalf of a defendant.  Inquiry Concerning Stafford, 643 So. 2d 1067 (Florida 1994).
  • The Georgia Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 3 years for unwanted touching of a sexual nature of several women, including county employees, while a judge.  In the Matter of Brooks, 449 S.E.2d 87 (Georgia 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) in 2 cases, refusing to accept bail in cash and remanding the defendants to jail in lieu of bail, in violation of a statute; (2) in 1 case, setting restitution after soliciting and receiving information from the 2 ex parte, without holding a hearing, and refusing to hold a restitution hearing when requested by the defendant, in violation of a statute; and (3) being a member of the fire department’s fire police and directing traffic at the scenes of fires and accidents.  In the Matter of Miller, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 7, 1994).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for arraigning his son after the son’s arrest for assault.  In the Matter of Poli, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 7, 1994).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, after assessing a fine of $10 for a defendant who had plead guilty to the theft of 2 packages of cigarettes from a store, deferring $9, giving the defendant $1 to pay the remainder of the fine, and stating that the store was more culpable than the defendant because of the health consequences of smoking.  In re Schillberg, Stipulation and Agreement and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 7, 1994).
  • The Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured and disqualified from future service as a judicial officer a former pro tem judge who had picked up a 12-year old who was hitch-hiking, taken the minor to his house overnight, and dropped the minor off by the side of the road the next morning.  In re Hatter, Commission Decision (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 7, 1994).
  • Adopting the recommendations of the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly censured a former judge who had accepted a $5,000 campaign donation in cash in violation of state law.  In the Matter of Mendez, 450 S.E.2d 646 (West Virginia 1994).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Alaska Supreme Court suspended a judge for 45 days without pay for failing to timely decide 3 matters and signing 16 pay affidavits when matters had been pending for more than 6 months.  In re Estelle, 336 P.3d 692 (Alaska 2014).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court removed a judge and barred him from judicial office for failing to effectively oversee court administration, inefficient and ineffective calendar and court management, prohibiting the training of clerk/staff, creating a hostile work environment, poor demeanor, lack of professionalism and decorum, questionable judgment, and racially discriminatory or offensive remarks.  Inquiry Concerning Sulley, Order (Arizona Supreme Court September 23, 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline and Disability issued a letter of informal adjustment to a judge for his $525 contribution to the campaign of a candidate for the State House of Representatives.  Letter of Informal Adjustment to Bourne (Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline and Disability September 19, 2014).
  • Based on a “report not contested” filed by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, the Arkansas Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) on a public, on-line fan-site, posting comments regarding the closed adoption of a famous actress; making inappropriate statements about official duties, pending cases, and independent investigations; and making inappropriate gender, race, and sexually related statements; (2) spoliation of evidence; and (3) involvement in a hot check case in which he was the victim.  Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission v. Maggio, 440 S.W.3d 333 (Arkansas 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) engaging in sexual activity in his chambers on multiple occasions with 2 women; (2) initiating contact with the district attorney’s office about the employment application of one of the women, asking questions about the interview and hiring processes, and expressing irritation that his recommendation had not resulted in her hiring; (3) after disqualifying himself from cases in which the second women appeared, re-assigning her cases to other judges; and (4) failing to disqualify himself from a case in which a close friend was an attorney.  In the Matter Concerning Steiner, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 2, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for engaging in sexual intercourse in the courthouse with a courtroom clerk, exchanging communications of a sexual nature with her during court proceedings, and misleading court administration and his superior judicial officers in an effort to prevent the clerk’s reassignment.  In the Matter Concerning Woodward, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 2, 2014).
  • Based on the application of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for appearing at the courthouse in an intoxicated state and unable to perform scheduled judicial duties.  In the Matter of Dean, 855 N.W.2d 186 (Iowa 2014).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission based on a settlement agreement, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge and suspended her for 30 days for taking the bench at 11 a.m. on 5 days on which matters were scheduled for 9, 9:30, or 10.  In re Gibson, 852 N.W.2d 891 (Michigan 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for being or appearing to be intoxicated while performing his duties and related misconduct; the judge agreed to complete a course at the National Judicial Conduct on co-occurring disorders, to continue counseling, and to attend Alcohol Anonymous at least once a week.  In the Matter of Fletcher, Stipulation and order (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline September 27, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) failing to timely sign orders, renditions, and findings of fact in 4 divorce cases and (2) dismissing for want of prosecution 600 divorce cases without notice or a hearing, including active cases awaiting trial or the judge’s signature on final orders and cases from which she had already been recused.  Public Reprimand of Pratt (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 4, 2014).