Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for 8 instances of unjustified delay in a variety of cases over 3 years. In re Roberts, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 26, 2017).
  • A hearing panel of the Ontario Judicial Council suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for wearing a “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” baseball hat in the courtroom the day after the U.S. presidential election. In the Matter of Zabel, Reasons for decision (Ontario Judicial Council September 11, 2017).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for submitting a character reference letter on behalf of an attorney in a reinstatement proceeding, without being duly summoned. Barth, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 7, 2012).
  • Based on the presentment of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge and disqualified him from holding judicial office for 5 years for initiating ex parte conversations with the prosecutor about a speeding case against his daughter’s former speech teacher, attempting to plea bargain the case with the prosecutor, presiding over the trial despite a partiality for the defendant, and allowing his professional relationship with the prosecutor and police officer to influence his judicial conduct.  In the Matter of Solomon, 51 A.3d 836 (New Jersey 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the North Carolina Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to enter an equitable distribution judgment for 46 months after the conclusion of the hearing.  Public Reprimand of Edwards (North Carolina Judicial Standards September 17, 2012).
  • Adopting stipulated facts and violations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate’s law license for 1-year (but stayed the suspension) for treating the litigants and their counsel in a case with disdain, permitting the guardian ad litem to lecture the parties on the record, terminating hearings before the parties had presented all their evidence and made a record of their objections, acting on his own whims rather than inquiring into the best interests of the child, failing to resolve any of the matters for more than a year and a half, and failing to conduct hearings in a manner that would permit the judge assigned to the case to resolve the issues in his stead.  Disciplinary Counsel v. McCormack, 977 N.E.2d 598 (Ohio 2012).
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge for her work habits, her handling of truancy cases, her handling of landlord/tenant cases, and her demeanor in 6 cases.  In re Merlo, 58 A.3d 1 (Pennsylvania 2012).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge because the public release of a videotape of him beating his daughter cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially as a judge and interfered with the proper performance of his judicial duties and for a pattern of incidents in which the judge displayed anger and poor judicial demeanor toward certain attorneys in his courtroom.  Public Warning of Adams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 4, 2012).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for an approximately 20-month delay in rendering a decision in a civil case.  Letter to Sawyer (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission September 23, 2002).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for a public confrontation with another patron at a bar.  Public Admonition of Keeshan (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 3, 2002).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, the Virginia Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for enforcing a child custody order that he knew had been stayed by another court.  Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission v. Lewis, 568 S.E.2d 687 (Virginia 2002).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $1,000 for 7-20 month delays in decisions in 3 cases.  In the Matter of Marren, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, decision, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline September 9, 1997).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for, while a candidate, mailing a brochure to voters that gave the unmistakable impression that he would favor tenants over landlords in housing matters.  In the Matter of Birnbaum, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 1997).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) driving his automobile into a tree and pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated; (2) presiding over an ex parte request for a temporary order of protection while under the influence of alcohol; and (3) after his son, who was the court officer assigned to his court had been removed from the courthouse because he appeared intoxicated, confronting 2 sheriff’s officers while intoxicated, demanding to know why his son had been removed from the courthouse, and stating, loudly and angrily, “How can you do this to me? Why are you doing this to me?  After all the support I’ve given you and your department, this is the way your deputies treat me.”  In the Matter of Purple, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 1997).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for indicating that a defendant could be released to a behavioral health treatment provider after an ex parte hearing in which the defendant’s father had argued for the release.  Hudson, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2017).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for (1) while running for office in 2012, (a) misrepresenting on his campaign web-site that he was the current president of the Family Values Coalition, the Justice Political Action Committee, and the California Justice Political Action Committee, and that the Family Values Coalition was a current non-profit California corporation; (b) failing to resign as president or chair of 3 political action committees before becoming a candidate for judicial office; (c) misrepresenting on his Fair Political Practices Commission form that he had served as chair of the Beat Obama Political Action Committee; (d) publicly opposing former President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012; (e) failing to disclose $8,835 in accrued campaign expenses and failing to file amended statements; and (f) using a personal bank account and credit card to pay for campaign expenses; (2) after being sworn in as a judge, remaining as counsel of record in a federal action for approximately 6 weeks and giving the impression of practicing law by issuing 4 checks that identified the account holder as “Gary G Kreep Sole Prop, DBA The Law Offices of Gary G Kreep;” (3) 15 incidents that reflected a lack of proper courtroom decorum, poor demeanor, bias, and/or a lack of impartiality in the courtroom; (4) improperly responding to a “blanket” challenge from the city attorney’s office by telling deputy public defenders and public defender interns to “watch out;” (5) telling an African-American court employee that she should not say she did not win a Halloween costume contest “due to racism;” (6) stating during a proceeding, “I had a Filipino teacher who always used to ask for a s**t of paper;” (7) improperly soliciting the legal opinion of attorneys who did not represent a party in the case before him; (8) giving a small claims plaintiff the choice of dismissing his case and filing it as a limited or unlimited civil case or having the judge decide the case based on evidence that the judge said was insufficient to support the claim of damages; and (9) repeatedly interjecting views based on his personal experience during a small claims case.  Inquiry Concerning Kreep, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 7, 2017).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 120 days without pay, fined him $3,000, and publicly reprimanded him for ordering a man to serve 6 months in a work center for a conviction he had already appealed and for which he had already satisfied his sentence.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Sheffield, 235 So. 3d 30 (Mississippi 2017).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a non-lawyer judge without pay for 1 year for (1) sealing her then son-in-law’s criminal records relating to his arrests for domestic battery of her daughter; (2) improperly ordering staff to conduct an illegal criminal records search of her friend’s boyfriend; (3) sentencing an unrepresented individual to 8 months in jail in violation of due process; (4) referring to men as “sperm donors;” (5) running a juvenile diversion program that did not comply with the law; and (6) issuing orders in small claims cases regarding titles for abandoned vehicles.  In the Matter of Haviland, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 29, 2017).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for giving an interview about a pending case on which he had served as prosecutor.  In the Matter of Kephart, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 31, 2017).
  • With the judge’s consent and conditioned on his agreement that the letter be public, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board issued a letter of counsel to a judge for being involved in a “support relationship” with the district attorney during his second divorce without disclosing the relationship when she and attorneys from the district attorney’s office presented matters in his court.  Letter to Grine (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board August 20, 2017).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for comments she made criticizing the district attorney during 4 habeas corpus hearings.  Public Reprimand of Schildknecht (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 22, 2017).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for allowing a photo of the judge labeled with his title to be used in a newspaper advertisement for his home health agency.  In the Matter of Elbon, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission August 24, 2017).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge who presided over an order of protection hearing in a domestic case after consuming 3 beers and treated the litigant discourteously.  Lodge, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 21, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded 1 full-time justice of the peace and 1 pro tem justice of the peace for filing amicus briefs in 2 superior court cases in which the full-time judge’s decisions were being reviewed; the pro-tem judge had written and signed both briefs and urged the full-time judge to sign them.  Frankel, Karp, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 21, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for continuing to serve as the secretary of her local Republican Women’s group after she took office.  Umphress, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct August 21, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for improperly conducting initial appearances and arraignments, treating civil and criminal matters interchangeably, and failing to review defendants’ constitutional rights.  Woolbright, Order (Arizona Commission Judicial Conduct August 21, 2012).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for holding a hearing on a motion for disqualification alleging a conflict between the attorney and the judge’s wife, communicating ex parte with his wife about the motion, calling his wife as a witness, questioning the attorney’s clients, and threatening to file a complaint with The Florida Bar.  Inquiry Concerning Cohen, 99 So. 3d 926 (Florida 2012).
  • The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for repeatedly failing to follow well-established procedural requirements, specifically, failing to engage criminal defendants in legally sufficient plea colloquies in minor motor vehicle criminal offenses.  Press Release (Merrick) (Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct August 31, 2012).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a former judge from office for having engaged in a sexual encounter with his 5-year-old niece in 1972, before he was a judge.  In the Matter of Hedges, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 17, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) approving his own application for a pistol permit and (2) accidentally discharging his gun in his chambers while attempting to repair it.  In the Matter of Sgueglia, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 10, 2012).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to expeditiously transfer from her court tickets issued to herself and her sons for violations of a dog-control ordinance, sending improper messages to the judges of the transferee court, and failing to maintain proper records of the tickets.  In the Matter of Van Woeart, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 20, 2012).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for impaired driving.  Public Reprimand of Carraway (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission August 9, 2012).
  • Based on a stipulation of facts and the judge’s consent, the Oregon Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for a 16-month delay in issuing a decision in a divorce case.  Inquiry Concerning Avera, 283 P.3d 923 (Oregon 2012).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for intervening in a landlord-tenant dispute when no case was pending in his court and asserting that there was no need for the landlord to file an eviction action in the absence of a written lease agreement.  Public Warning of De La Paz (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 3, 2012).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for issuing a capias pro fine warrant that resulted in a woman’s arrest and incarceration without following the law and failing to treat her in a patient, dignified, and courteous manner.  Public Reprimand of Billingsley and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 3, 2012).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s stipulated order publicly reprimanding a former judge for revoking a defendant’s probation without following proper procedures.  In re Peters, Order (Utah Supreme Court August 22, 2012).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge from office for (1) instructing clerks to dismiss 3 tickets received by an acquaintance, the acquaintance’s wife, and his niece and dismissing a ticket received by the minor son of a reserve deputy sheriff who had occasionally acted as the judge’s bailiff and (2) attempting to influence other judicial officers regarding his godfather’s speeding ticket, about the bail for the daughter of a family from his church, and in a juvenile delinquency proceeding involving a family he had represented while an attorney.  Inquiry Concerning Platt, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 5, 2002).
  • Based on a joint recommendation and stipulation of facts, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended a judge without pay for 6 months for (1) submitting tax returns signed by an attorney as “paid tax preparer” when the attorney had not prepared the returns; (2) signing an attorney’s name as “paid tax preparer” to tax returns; (3) presiding over a case involving his wife’s daughter; (4) presiding over a case involving a friend; (5) failing to identify 1 creditor and 3 lawsuits in which he was the defendant on his financial disclosure statements; and (6) failing to appear when a civil case in which he was a defendant was scheduled for trial and personally asked the presiding judge for a continuance.  In re Kutrubis (Illinois Courts Commission August 30, 2002).
  • With his consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a senior judge for rulings in 2 criminal cases based on facts outside the evidence or before the state had presented its evidence.  Public Admonition of Brewer (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications August 22, 2002).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, in violation of a statute, ordering a handgun seized from a minor forfeited to the court even after charges against the minor were dismissed.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Lewis, 830 So. 2d 1138 (Mississippi 2002).
  • The Indiana Supreme Court approved an agreement between a judge and the Commission on Judicial Qualifications in which the judge resigned from office in return for dismissal of the Commission’s recommendation that he be removed for considering and granting an ex parte request for temporary custody of a child without giving prior notice to the child’s mother or following the procedural requirements for granting such a petition and issuing 2 orders to the county auditor ordering that the law firm representing him be paid out of the county general fund.  In the Matter of Kern, 774 N.E.2d 878 (Indiana 2002).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, a special tribunal publicly censured a justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court who had entered a nolo contendere plea to the charge of DUI, been fined $800, and sentenced to 48 hours in jail with the jail time suspended.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. McRae, 700 So. 2d 1331 (Mississippi 1997).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent and the judge’s agreement to tender his irrevocable resignation from office and not seek or hold judicial office in any court in the state, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for taking 2 business cardholders from a club.  Inquiry Concerning Williams, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 17, 2017).
  • Based on a settlement agreement and stipulations, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay and publicly censured him for sexually harassing his judicial secretary.  In re Iddings, 897 N.W.2d 169 (Michigan 2017).
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 9 months without pay for interfering with a police investigation at the scene of an accident involving his intern, interfering with the prosecution of the intern, and making an intentional misrepresentation to the Commission.  In re Simpson, 902 N.W.2d 383 (Michigan 2017).
  • The Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for directing insulting, demeaning, and humiliating comments and gestures to 3 children during a contempt proceeding.  In re Gorcyca, 902 N.W.2d 828 (Michigan 2017).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for delay issuing decisions in 3 cases.  In re Rawson, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 5, 2017).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for signing an order that improperly allowed a law school graduate who was not licensed in the state to practice in his court.  In the Matter of O’Briant, Amended public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission July 5, 2017).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to a stipulation for discipline by consent conditioned on the judge’s irrevocable retirement from judicial office, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) his promotion of and participation in a dubious investment scheme, including keeping a payment of $20,000 from one of the principals even though he knew that the investors had not received any of the profits they had been promised and despite knowing that the principals had all been convicted at trial of or pled guilty to federal criminal offenses; (2) telling some investors that he believed their profits would be forthcoming and otherwise discouraging them from complaining to government authorities; (3) instructing court staff to put calls from the principals in the investment scheme through to him on the bench or in his chambers; (4) avoiding his financial obligations over a lengthy period by writing worthless checks, making false promises and misrepresentations to creditors, and otherwise engaging in delaying tactics; and (5) on numerous occasions, remanding defendants based on his “smell test” of the defendants’ hair and/or his examination of their eyes.  Inquiry Concerning Aaron (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 8, 2002) .
  • The New York Court of Appeals publicly admonished a judge a judge for referring to herself as a “graduate” of the judicial law courses that she took in her capacity as court clerk.  In the Matter of Shanley, 774 N.E.2d 735 (New York 2002).
  • Affirming a decision by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a Texas Special Court of Review publicly reprimanded a judge who had engaged in a personal vendetta to destroy the reputation of a young prosecutor; used profane, distasteful, and inappropriate language in a letter to the district attorney; and publicly attacked the district attorney’s office by sending the letter to the media.  In re Davis, 82 S.W.2d 140 (Texas Special Court of Review 2002).