Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) misusing Department of Motor Vehicle records and using court staff, stationery, and equipment for the judge’s personal activities; (2) making sexually related comments toward female court employees; (3) being absent from the courthouse without reporting the days as vacation time; and (4) regularly leaving the courthouse when the Friday calendar was completed, sometimes as early as noon.  Inquiry Concerning Hyde, Decision and Order of Public Censure (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 10, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for improperly intervening on behalf of a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship in an investigation of a child welfare matter.  In the Matter of Kaplan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 6, 1996).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Granting the application of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a magistrate for misusing expunged files in his private law practice.  In the Matter of Sevcik, 877 N.W.2d 707 (Iowa 2016).
  • Following a hearing, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for ordering a domestic violence complainant jailed after she recanted her testimony.  In re Collins, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and final order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission April 22, 2016).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a chancellor without pay for 30 days, fined him $2,500, and publicly reprimanded him for negligence and inattention while executing ex parte orders that resulted in the dissipation of assets from a ward’s estate.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Shoemake, 191 So. 3d 1211 (Mississippi 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for initiating the prosecution of a trucking company and its owners for a violation of federal regulations and engaging in ex parte communications regarding the case, including plea negotiations; the judge was also ordered to complete 2 courses at the National Judicial College and to study relevant statutes, rules of civil procedure, and local rules.  In the Matter of Haviland, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline April 22, 2016).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for ex parte communications with a police officer, taking a criminal defendant for a ride in his car, reducing the defendant’s fine at the request of the officer, and lying to the Commission on Judicial Performance investigator.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Boone, 60 So. 3d 172 (Mississippi 2011).
  • Based on the presentment of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for involving the police in tracking down the parents of the teen who had damaged his son’s car, his treatment of the teen’s mother on the telephone and in a lawsuit, and being less than forthcoming with the Committee.  In the Matter of Baptista, 15 A.3d 323 (New Jersey 2011). 
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for issuing a summons for a citizen to appear in his court when no case was pending against the citizen and no criminal charges had been filed against him.  Public Warning of Perez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 6, 2011).
  • Based on stipulated facts and a stipulated recommendation, the Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s public censure of a former judge based on his guilty plea to charges of exposing himself to a police officer in a public restroom.  Inquiry Concerning Hare, Order (Utah Supreme Court April 6, 2011).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a former judge for expressing his support for a candidate for sheriff in a letter to the editor after he had announced his retirement but while he was still a judge.  In the Matter of Votendahl, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 22, 2011).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 6 months following his conviction while a judge of federal felony counts of filing false tax returns and structuring currency transactions to avoid treasury reporting requirements.  In the Matter of Scholl, 25 P.3d 710 (Arizona 2001).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for delay in 2 cases and failure to respond to inquiries from the Judicial Tenure Commission.  In the Matter of Jelsema, 625 N.W.2d 751 (Michigan 2001).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, the Rhode Island Supreme Court removed a former judge from office and imposed a monetary sanction on him for being regularly absent from his courtroom during normal working hours, gambling in a public casino, and pleading guilty to a federal felony offense for knowingly making a false statement under oath in connection with a personal bankruptcy petition.  In re Lallo, 768 A.2d 921 (Rhode Island 2001).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to decide a summary motion for more than 10 months after the hearing date.  In the Matter of Borst, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 6, 2001).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for repeatedly continuing post-trial hearings in a criminal case in response to statements a criminal defense attorney made at sidebar during a trial without citing the attorney for contempt or issuing an order to show cause; failing to give the attorney notice of the subject of one of the hearings, improperly excluding the attorney from the hearing, and engaging in improper ex parte communications before the hearing; and contacting another judge to obtain information about another possible contempt matter concerning the attorney.  Public Admonishment of Connolly (California Commission on Judicial Conduct March 23, 2016).
  • Following a hearing on a complaint brought by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended 1 judge for 4 months without pay for presiding over cases in which the husband of a judge with whom he was having an affair represented a party without disclosing the relationship and for a pattern of deceptive conduct to hide the affair from the chief judge and publicly censured the judge with whom he was having the affair for knowing that he was presiding in cases involving her husband but failing to initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against him.  In re Drazewski and Foley, Order (Illinois Courts Commission March 11, 2016).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a judge for mishandling multiple peace bond proceedings, including failing to timely refund money paid to him after the bonds had expired without forfeiture; extending peace bonds beyond the 6-month maximum term allowed by law; exceeding the $1,000 maximum limit for peace bonds; charging fees in peace bond proceedings that exceeded the amount allowed by law; imposing sentences on peace bond defendants that exceeded the maximum allowed by the code of criminal procedure; issuing peace bonds that interfered with family court proceedings; issuing peace bonds without a hearing as required by law; being rude and discourteous; allowing his staff to be rude and discourteous; and failing to properly notarize peace bond applications.  In re Laiche, 198 So. 3d 86 (Louisiana 2016).
  • With the judge’s consent, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities released its private reprimand of a judge for appearing in a court where he was assigned as a recall judge for a trial on a ticket he received.  In the Matter of Plitt, Private reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities March 15, 2016).
  • The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline permanently barred a former judge from judicial office in the state based on his federal plea agreement to charges related to a conspiracy to devise and execute a scheme or artifice to defraud and obtain money or property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, half-truths, and promises.  In the Matter of Jones, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 1, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for independently investigating the father in a paternity case and then holding him in contempt without following procedures required by due process and failing to enter a visitation order in the case for over a year.  In the Matter of Wanker, Stipulation and order of consent (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline March 3, 2016).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were accepted by the judge, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge and permanently barred him from serving in judicial office for (1) presiding in 4 cases in which he had a conflict of interest; (2) making improper and derogatory remarks during 2 court proceedings; (3) dismissing a parking violation against a litigant using a procedure that conflicted with the rule and guidelines regarding plea agreements; and (4) engaging in plea negotiations with numerous defendants charged with driving while on the suspended or revoked list.  In the Matter of Scattergood, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2016).
  • Based on joint stipulations of fact, violations, and aggravating and mitigating factors, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate for 2 years, with 18 months stayed with conditions, for his sexual relationship with a party in an eviction action over which he presided as a magistrate, his falsification of a loan application for the purchase of a motor vehicle for her, and his misappropriation of wrongful-death proceeds that were intended to finance an annuity for the benefit of a decedent’s minor children.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Williams, 49 N.E.3d 289 (Ohio 2016).
  • • Based on stipulations of fact in lieu of trial, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline fined a former supreme court justice $50,000 for participating in an exchange of e-mails with friends and professional acquaintances that were insensitive and contained inappropriate references to gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, using his Commonwealth-issued computer equipment and a personal web-based e-mail address. In re Eakin, 150 A.3d 1042 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2016).
  • • Pursuant to an agreement with the judge, the investigative panel of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for an ex parte meeting and e-mail with members of the district attorney general’s office regarding the types of dispositions she would accept in domestic violence court. Reprimand of Walker (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct March 23, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for attempting to pull a driver over for reckless driving, having a police officer pull the driver over, and threatening to have the driver incarcerated without legal justification; the Commission also ordered the judge to receive 2 hours of additional education. Public Warning of Brady and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 3, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for regularly interrupting litigants and attorneys and addressing them in an unduly confrontational, loud, and harsh manner; the judge also agreed to participate in ethics training.  In re Canada-Thurston, Stipulation, agreement, order of reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 2016).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to implement agreed sentences without giving the prosecution an opportunity to be heard and failing to be patient, dignified, and courteous toward all participants in court proceedings.  Press Release (Campbell) (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards March 26, 2001).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for firing a handgun several times towards the rear area of his law office near a public intersection to scare a wild turkey off the road that he believed was endangering motorists.  In the Matter of Ciganek, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 29, 2001).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for engaging in improper ex parte communications in a small claims action and failing to afford a plaintiff full opportunity to be heard.  In the Matter of Gori, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 29, 2001).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated disposition and agreed statement of facts, the California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for a wide variety of misconduct, including remanding people to custody without following proper contempt procedures for whispering or appearing to fall asleep in court; being rude and insulting to a deputy public defender on 5 occasions; putting inordinate pressure on prosecutors to offer dispositions and on defendants to enter guilty pleas; and frequently and arbitrarily dismissing misdemeanor cases if the prosecution was unable to proceed on the day set for trial without the 10-day grace period allowed by the penal code.  Inquiry Concerning Ormsby, Decision and Order of Public Censure (California Commission on Judicial Performance March 20, 1996).
  • Reviewing a special masters’ report and the record de novo, the Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge from office for participating in harassment directed toward a court employee and her family; the Court also suspended the judge from the practice of law for no less than 2 years.  In the Matter of McClain, 662 N.E.2d 935 (Indiana 1996).
  • The Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 3 days without pay for intemperate and abusive conduct toward an attorney.  In the Matter of Hocking, 546 N.W.2d 234 (Michigan 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing over 6 years to advise defendants in traffic cases of a trial date upon receipt of not guilty pleas as required by statute and meeting ex parte with prosecutors to discuss plea reductions negotiated with defendants by the prosecution.  In the Matter of Bregman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and recommendation between the Commission administrator and a judge, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for signing as complaining witness and filing with the other judge of his court 30 informations against individuals that the judge had apprehended on the property of a private club where he was superintendent and using judicial stationery in several letters to his fellow judge and to the district attorney in connection with the cases.  In the Matter of Hoag, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for failing to remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth day of the month following collection as required by statute, failing to respond to 3 letters from staff counsel, and failing without explanation to appear to give testimony.  In the Matter of Driscoll, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 20, 1996).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for stepping off a roadway into some bushes in a park and raising his shorts, exposing himself; informing the arresting police officers that he was a judge even though they had not asked about his occupation; and, stating to a lieutenant at the police station that his arrest would be devastating because of his judicial position.  In the Matter of D’Amico, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for making an improper, ex parte telephone call to the victim in an assault case and conducting night and weekend arraignments in the police station even though a courtroom was available.  In the Matter of Cerbone, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 21, 1996).
  • Agreeing with the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended sanction of the Board of Commissioners on Judicial Standards, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for having sexual intercourse with a litigant in a case before the judge.  In the Matter of Gravely, 467 S.E.2d 924 (South Carolina 1996).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for, in open court, telling an attorney, in part:  “I remember you . . . I recuse myself from your cases . . . you are the gentleman who yelled at the lady who is now my wife;” stating that the attorney was disrespectful to other women based on rumors he had heard in the community; stating that he was concerned the attorney was a “misogynist;” and brusquely ordering the attorney from his courtroom.  Castillo, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1)(a) failing to make pension payments to his ex-wife for nearly 2 years and deliberately failing to inform her that he was retired and receiving his military pension; (b) making false statements that impugned the integrity of his ex-wife’s former attorney; (c) directing which judge on his court would handle the stipulation and order settling the pension issue with his ex-wife; (2)(a) sending a disparaging, undignified, and discourteous e-mail response to the assistant presiding judge’s inquiry about his availability to help cover the court’s calendar; (b) responding intemperately to the rotation of a particular court reporter to his courtroom; and (3) failing to disqualify himself when a close personal friend appeared as an attorney in cases and failing to disclose the relationship.  Inquiry Concerning Trice (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 4, 2016).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for a pattern of failing to disclose the campaign contributions of attorneys who appeared before him after the election.  In the Matter Concerning Walsh, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 10, 2016).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for deliberately engaging a deputy district attorney in an ex parte communication about a case that was pending sentencing before him.  In the Matter of Scott, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 17, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for an ex parte telephone conversation with the deputy district attorney assigned to a criminal case regarding the contested issue of the release of the defendant from jail on his own recognizance and the judge’s disqualification; releasing the defendant on his own recognizance before receiving the deputy district attorney’s motion contesting the release and then disqualifying himself without sufficient reason; and failing to disqualify himself before ruling on the defendant’s release.  In the Matter of Fletcher, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline February 12, 2016).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for representing a woman in a divorce proceeding after taking action on mutual harassment complaints filed by her and her husband and while those actions were pending in his court and failing to immediately disqualify himself from harassment complaints after undertaking the representation.  In the Matter of Bowkley, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court February 3, 2016).
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation agreement and consent to discipline, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for permitting and engaging in an impermissible ex parte phone conversation with the plaintiff’s attorney that involved substantive matters in a civil case.  In the Matter of Singleton, Order and public censure (New Mexico Supreme Court February 11, 2016).
  • Adopting findings of fact and misconduct, which the parties had stipulated, the Ohio Supreme Court permanently disbarred a former judge who was convicted in federal court of honest-services mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud related to his judicial duties.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Terry, 63 N.E.3d 88 (Ohio 2016).
  • Without an opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing 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 shoe 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, 132 A.3d 454 (Pennsylvania 2016), affirming In re Ballentine, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline August 4, 2015).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) failing to take immediate steps to disqualify himself and/or transfer his own divorce case out of his court and filing motions in his own court in connection with the pending divorce action and (2) failing to timely rule on or refer the recusal motions filed by the attorney representing his wife in other matters, attempting to intervene in proceedings relating to his own recusal, and displaying a personal animus against the attorney representing his wife; the Commission also ordered the judge to complete 6 additional hours of instruction.  Public Reprimand of Herrera and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 24, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for entering judgments finding defendants guilty of illegal parking violations that were not supported by a proper complaint or probable cause and imposing fines for these offenses in excess of amounts allowed by law; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 10 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Warning of Jones and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 29, 2016).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former justice of the peace for dismissing criminal cases without a motion from the prosecutor; frequent and extended absences from the court; delays and confusion caused by his handling of a case; and using court funds for his personal financial benefit.  Public Reprimand of Stringer (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 29, 2016).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Accepting a conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for (1) exhibiting impatience and frustration with a defendant and her attorney and making sarcastic remarks during a bench trial on traffic charges; (2) a practice of imposing substantially higher penalties on infraction litigants who exercised their trial rights; (3) routinely failing to consider the specific circumstances when imposing penalties in traffic cases; and (4) routinely giving general advisements to defendants that understated the state’s burden of proof and frequently speculating to indecisive defendants about what the state’s evidence might be.  In the Matter of Young, 943 N.E.2d 1276 (Indiana 2011).
  • Granting a joint motion for approval of the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, to determine who was upset about his appointment of the youth public defender and who had released the information to the media, issuing subpoenas to county commissioners without complying with the law.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Buffington, 55 So. 3d 167 (Mississippi 2011).
  • Based on findings by the Judicial Conduct Board, the Vermont Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to resign as assistant judge upon becoming a candidate for probate judge.  In re Hodgdon, 19 A.3d 598 (Vermont 2011).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Accepting a stipulation, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge for intentionally altering a court record; the Commission also barred him from receiving any assignment or reference from any California state court.  Inquiry Concerning Judge Hermo, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 20, 2001).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the public censure of a judge for “inappropriate and demeaning” conduct toward his secretary.  In the Matter of Shaw, 747 N.E.2d 1272 (New York 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) in 1 divorce case, finding both parties guilty of contempt and sentencing them to jail, based on the other party’s unsworn statements, without holding a hearing, and instructing the attorneys to submit ex parte affidavits concerning the exchange personal property at the marital residence; (2) in a second case, repeatedly violating the rights of a third-party defendant and conveying an appearance of bias; (3) in a third case, using “colorful” language and exerting pressure in an “injudicious and indiscriminate manner” to force a settlement; and (4) in a fourth case, while exerting pressure to achieve a settlement, stating that the parties were wasting the court’s time on matters that should have been settled, and disparaging the attorneys, in the presence of their clients.  In the Matter of Teresi, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 8, 2001).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for, while a candidate for nomination to the supreme court, making improper, inflammatory, taunting, and provocative comments to and about a defendant while presiding over his arraignment for a crime that had resulted in the death of a police officer that conveyed the impression that he was using the judicial proceeding as a political forum.  In the Matter of Brennan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 8, 2001).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for retaining unexpended campaign funds after his unsuccessful campaigns for the nomination to another judicial office rather than returning them to his contributors pro rata.  In the Matter of Mullen, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 8, 2001).
  • The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) soliciting and receiving ex parte information about the owner of a mobile home park and relying on the information to the owner’s detriment; and (2) writing a letter on judicial stationery notifying a property owner of code violations and writing to the codes enforcement officer suggesting that he issue an appearance ticket to the property owner’s tenants.  In the Matter of MacLaughlin, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 8, 2001).