Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities made public its private reprimand of a judge for misleading attorneys that a case would be tried in less than 24 hours and directing the assignment clerk to create and post a false document setting the case for a jury trial.  In the Matter of McDowell, Private Reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities October 24, 2011).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time municipal court judge and fined him $1,500 for (1) his conduct during the representation of a client charged with assaulting his wife and using his official capacity to have a National Crime Information Center criminal history run on the client’s ex-wife’s current husband to use in a child custody hearing subsequent to the divorce; and (2) treating a 17-year-old girl who was a defendant in a traffic case and her mother intemperately and having the mother arrested for contempt.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Gunter, 797 So. 2d 988 (Mississippi 2001).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission, the North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for soliciting support and votes for his re-election from defendants and attorneys appearing before him during court.  In re Stephenson, 552 S.E.2d 137 (North Carolina 2001).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for (1) purchasing items from a distraint sale conducted by his office; (2) personally serving documents on parties to actions pending in his court and falsifying the affidavit of service; (3) failing to respond to several circuit court orders requiring him to file returns in appeals from his court; (4) failing to monitor his official accounts, review his official bank statements, or supervise his clerks to ensure that they were properly executing their financial and accounting duties; and (5) misplacing documents in a matter pending before him, causing an unreasonable delay in the disposition of the case.  In the Matter of Thompson, 553 S.E.2d 449 (South Carolina 2001).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for calling an attorney ex parte to ask whether the attorney had told the defendant in a civil case she could charge a management fee for certain properties.  In re McCulloch, Stipulation, Agreement and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 5, 2001).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) engaging in a pattern or practice of accepting guilty pleas without obtaining proper written statements from the defendants as required by law, and (2) banishing defendants from the municipality in at least 3 cases.  In re Reid, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 5, 2001).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge and suspended him for 2 months without pay for communicating ex parte with a judge presiding over an action seeking to evict a tenant from a unit in a condominium building where the respondent judge was a trustee of the condominium association and owned 2 units; the judge also agreed to the assignment of a mentor judge and training.  In the Matter of Jarasitis, Press Release (Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct October 31, 1996).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the California Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for (1) as a matter of routine practice during the in-custody misdemeanor arraignment calendar, failing to consider release of defendants on their own recognizance or to consider probation or concurrent sentencing for defendants pleading guilty or no contest at arraignment; (2) refusing to appoint counsel to assist defendants; and (3) failing as required by law to inform defendants pleading guilty or no contest of the negative consequences a conviction could have on a non-citizen with regard to immigration.  In re Whitney, 922 P.2d 868 (California 1996).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for (1) sending numerous harassing, threatening, and disparaging anonymous communications to a lawyer with whom he had a personal feud; (2) publicly disseminating a list of “13 suggestions for confrontational or intentionally offensive criminal defense attorneys;” (3) publicly criticizing a defense being raised in a pending proceeding before his court; (4) filing a false report to a police official; and (5) giving testimony during the Commission’s investigation that was false, misleading, and lacking in candor.  In the Matter of Mogil, 673 N.E.2d 896 (New York 1996).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to provide a father a full opportunity to explain the nature of his minor child’s disability and the need for the protective order he was seeking on behalf of his child.  Forshey, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 22, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 14 days without pay for keeping a witness incarcerated for contempt of court for over 2 months without appointing an attorney to represent her, setting bond, or holding a hearing.  In re Miniard, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 2, 2016).
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 7 days without pay for granting an ex parte motion to grant immediate custody to a child’s father.  In re Stein, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission September 12, 2016).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a former judicial candidate for failing to file a written response to a complaint.  In the Matter of Willett (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 1, 2016).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Inquiry Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for failing to timely arraign a defendant.  In the Matter of Broce-Kelley, Public admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 1, 2016).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for abusing his contempt power in response to a report that a member of the public was using her cell phone to take pictures or videos of people in the courthouse lobby involved in dependency court proceedings.  In the Matter Concerning Wagoner, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 13, 2011).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) obtaining and consuming marijuana at least once a week from March to May of 2010; (2) showing up at the house of his sister-in-law’s estranged husband, identifying himself as a magistrate judge, and then kicking in 2 interior doors at the man’s home; (3) in the courthouse, pointing a firearm at himself and stating to another magistrate judge, “I am not scared.  Are you all scared?”; (4) while on a local cable television show called “Night Talk,” (a) making derogatory remarks about the Chief Magistrate Judge and calling him “spineless,” (b) publicly disclosing that he had filed a complaint with the Commission against the Chief Magistrate Judge, and (c) exposing the identity of a confidential informant and displaying a photograph of the informant; (5) making a phone call to “Night Talk,” and, after initially trying to disguise his voice with multiple foreign accents, told the sheriff (who was being interviewed on the show) that he had “crapped himself’ and was a “spineless jelly spine;” and (6) refusing to work hours that had been assigned to him by the Chief Magistrate Judge.  Inquiry Concerning Peters, 715 S.E.2d 56 (Georgia 2011).
  • Based on agreed findings of facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a part-time judge for 30-days without pay, publicly reprimanded her, and fined her $500 for executing a felony arrest warrant for a client’s ex-husband based upon an affidavit submitted by her client.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bustin, 71 So. 3d 598 (Mississippi 2011).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for discussing a citation with the game warden who had issued it and unilaterally dismissing the case based on ex parte communications with the defendant and the fear of a potential lawsuit against the county.  Public Admonition of Cox (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 8, 2011).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a judge for delegating to his law clerk responsibility for presiding over 2 hearings on name change petitions.  In the Matter of Yoder, Public Admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 2011).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline & Disability publicly admonished a judge who (1) stated to a young female defendant in a crowded courtroom “Your behavior is that of a common crack whore;” and (2) stated to another female defendant charged with prostitution, “How is business?  Is business good these days?” and “There is no reason to be ashamed.  You were not ashamed jumping in and out of trucks having sex with men.  The men in this courtroom do not want to have sex with you.” Letter of Admonishment of Rainey (Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline & Disability September 21, 2001).
  • Approving a joint recommendation based on a stipulation of facts, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had pled guilty of reckless driving and whose drivers license had been suspended for refusing to take a breathalyzer test.  In re Racculgla, Order (Illinois Courts Commission September 7, 2001).
  • Approving a settlement, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded and admonished a judge for a television campaign ad that stated he had kept his promise, “to send more child molesters to jail . . . burglars to jail . . . drug dealers to jail . . . .”  In the Matter of Spencer, 759 N.E.2d 1064 (Indiana 2001).
  • Approving a joint statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 15 days for (1) permitting the practice of the clerk or her employees of affixing the judge’s signature stamp to protective orders when petitions were filed and before the judge reviewed them, which led to the appearance that the judge granted his father a protective order; (2) granting several citizens emergency protective orders against a utility despite the property interests of family members in the area; (3) after granting an automatic change of judge in one case and disqualifying himself in several others, sua sponte issuing orders of clarification extending the effectiveness of the emergency protective orders against the utility; and (4) entering orders in another case involving the utility, after having disqualified himself.  In the Matter of Funke, 757 N.E.2d 1013 (Indiana 2001).
  • Granting a joint motion, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for finding a defendant guilty of disturbing the peace and simple assault based on affidavits without testimony and without giving the defendant an opportunity to defend herself.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Wells, 794 So. 2d 1030 (Mississippi 2001).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge and fined him $4,933 for failing to resign as a judge after qualifying to run for the board of supervisors.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Haltom, 681 So. 2d 1332 (Mississippi 1996).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for failing to timely remit court funds to the state comptroller.  In the Matter of Erway, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 17, 1996).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for failing to remit court funds promptly to the state comptroller, failing to respond to 3 letters sent by staff counsel, and failing to give testimony although she was directed to do so by the letter sent certified mail by staff counsel.  In the Matter of Carney, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 19, 1996).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a magistrate for using a court copy machine to make copies of an announcement of a Democrat picnic.  In the Matter of Hull, Public Admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 3, 1996).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a candidate for magistrate for attending a Democratic Executive Committee meeting and voting as proxy for another member of the committee.  In the Matter of Eplin, Public Admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 10, 1996).
  • The West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission publicly admonished a justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals for a campaign letter on a facsimile of letterhead used by the justice in his judicial capacity.  In the Matter of Albright, Public Admonishment (West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission September 23, 1996).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on an agreement, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for beginning a Facebook relationship with a woman whom he had met in his official capacity and exchanging sexually explicit messages and photos with her, often during office hours and from the court’s offices.  In the Matter of Archer, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary August 8, 2016).  
  • Based on an agreement and stipulation, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary ordered a judge to retire immediately and never serve in judicial office again for failing to disqualify herself from the probate of her father’s estate in which she and her siblings were heirs; engaging in ex parte communications about the case with others, including her siblings; obtaining waivers outside the court and outside the presence of all parties or their attorneys; in a personal letter to a 3rd party, misusing her title to give extra weight to a request about a debt owned by an heir’s estate; notarizing documents that she knew or should have known would be filed in a proceeding before her; directing the administratrix (her sister) about who should and should not be included as heirs; directing her attorney to request that a settlement check in a class action case that was an asset in the estate be sent to the probate court office; inserting her personal knowledge of facts and family history into the case; misusing her status as a judge to preempt tasks normally reserved for an estate’s personal representative; and co-mingling her status as party and judge.  In the Matter of Isaac, Final judgment (Alabama Court of the Judiciary August 8, 2016).
  • Accepting the recommendation and findings of the Commission on Judicial Conduct based on the judge’s admission of culpability, the Alaska Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for 5 statements he made in the courtroom.  In the Matter Involving Dooley, 376 P.3d 1249 (Alaska 2016).
  • The Illinois Courts Commission publicly censured a judge for deceiving her mortgage lender by making several misrepresentations in her mortgage application that caused the lender to believe she occupied the property as her primary residence when, in fact, the judge resided at another property and had no intention of establishing residence at the property she was re-financing.  In re Santiago, Order (Illinois Courts Commission August 18, 2016).
  • Based on a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who had been arrested and convicted for operating while intoxicated, endangering a person; had asked a police officer to “just take [him] home and forget about the drinking and driving;” and told the officer that he was a senior judge for the Court of Appeals.  In the Matter of Garrard, 56 N.E.3d 24 (Indiana 2016).
  • Based on an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for (1) criticizing the victims in a criminal case during a sentencing hearing and on Facebook while the defendant’s probation was still pending; (2) comments on Facebook and in a presentation to the Louisville Bar Association that criticized the county commonwealth attorney and accused him of advocating for all-white jury panels, that criticized the public defender and criminal defense attorneys for not publicly supporting him in his dispute with the commonwealth attorney, and that discussed the motion to certify the law filed on behalf of the commonwealth attorney; and (3) criticizing a court of appeals decision in a public statement.  In re Stevens, Agreed order of suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission August 8, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and the judge’s consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for discussing his son’s criminal case with another judge; the judge also agreed to complete a course at the National Judicial College.  In the Matter of Kalleres, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a former hearing master for unprofessional conduct in a hearing about a bench warrant.  In the Matter of Beller, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent to discipline, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) informing the other judge on his court that he would not abide by an agreement for her to become chief judge based in part on his belief that the mayor wanted him to continue as chief judge; (2) taking positions or making decisions regarding the administration of the court based on his perception of what the mayor or city administration wanted, not on the best interests of the court (or allowing it to appear that he has done so); (3) failing to cooperate with the other judge regarding administrative matters and refusing to meet or speak with her or to respond to her correspondence; and (4) failing to report to the Commission the other judge’s treatment of court staff and deputies from the city attorney’s office and her improper dismissal of valid warrants.  In the Matter of Hoeffgen, Stipulation and order of consent to public reprimand (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on a stipulation and consent to discipline, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended a judge for 3 months without pay and ordered that she not seek re-election for (1) her treatment of court staff; (2) her handling of cases, including amending or dismissing charges sua sponte; and (3) her improper interactions with and comments about deputies from the city attorney’s office; the judge also agreed to write apologies to 3 of the complainants and to submit to a fitness for duty exam.  In the Matter of Ramsey, Stipulation and consent to discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline August 23, 2016).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) making condescending and inappropriate remarks about a teenage sexual assault victim; (2) becoming angry and making loud and derogatory statements to the district attorney in another case for suggesting that the judge place a case ahead of another case that had been pending longer and challenging the judge’s observation about moving cases expeditiously; and (3) making disparaging and provocative comments in a third case regarding the family relationship between the county district attorney and a potential witness.  In the Matter of Hafner, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct August 29, 2016).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a magistrate for hearing matters involving the sheriff’s department even though her husband was the elected sheriff. In the Matter of Underwood, 790 S.E.2d 761 (South Carolina 2016).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for (1) hearing cases involving an attorney with whom he had an intimate relationship and (2) engaging in unwanted sexual conduct toward an assistant public defender and retaliating against her when she rejected his advances; the Court also permanently enjoined him from serving as a judicial officer in Arizona and suspended him from the practice of law in Arizona for 2 years.  In the Matter of Abrams, 257 P.3d 167 (Arizona 2011).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for revoking a criminal defendant’s pro per status, speaking harshly to the defendant, repeatedly stating that she did not believe him, grilling him on cases he had cited in his motion, and stating 3 times that he was lying.  Public Admonishment of Comparet-Cassani (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 16, 2011).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 270 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for interfering with the prosecution of a defendant charged in a crime in which a relative of the judge was the victim and making statements in open court that encouraged others to engage in vigilante justice.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. McGee, 71 So. 3d 578 (Mississippi 2011).
  • Based on a stipulation, the New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for angrily confronting a man who was putting up signs opposing his brother’s gubernatorial candidacy and contacting an attorney who was active in politics about the incident.  Stephen, Reprimand (New Hampshire Judicial Conduct Committee August 25, 2011).
  • Adopting in part the presentment of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge had accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a retired judge for failing to recuse from a case based on his relationship with a central witness and then appearing twice in the back of another judge’s courtroom during the trial after recusing himself.  In re Perskie, 24 A.3d 277 (New Jersey 2011).
  • With the judge’s consent, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for entering orders striking 5 convictions at the ex parte request of an attorney who represented that the outgoing district attorney had approved the relief.  Public Reprimand of Ammons (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission August 4, 2011).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for receiving supplemental payments from the police department who prosecuted cases before her.  In the Matter of McKinney, 714 S.E.2d 284 (South Carolina 2011).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Adopting the findings of fact of 3 special masters, the California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge from office for (1) misrepresenting his educational background on his personal data questionnaires when he sought judicial appointment; (2) falsely representing that he was a Vietnam veteran to judges who could help him gain his appointment; (3) misrepresenting his educational background, legal experience, and affiliations on his judicial data questionnaire; (4) falsely representing to the judge who was to introduce him at the public enrobing ceremony that he was a Vietnam veteran who had received a Purple Heart; (5) falsely representing to attorneys that he had gone to Vietnam, had a master’s degree in psychology, and had shrapnel in his groin received in military combat; (6) falsely telling a newspaper reporter that he had been in Vietnam; and (7) making false statements about his education and military experience in letters and testimony to the Commission.  Inquiry Concerning Couwenberg, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 15, 2001).
  • Approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) promising in his campaign to favor the state and police and to side against defense and making unfounded attacks on his incumbent opponent and on the local court system and local officials, and (2) presiding over a court case despite a direct personal conflict of interest.  Inquiry Concerning McMillan, 797 So. 2d 560 (Florida 2001).
  • Based on a stipulation of facts and joint recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended a judge for 3 months without pay for entering an injunction following a hearing that was a “parody of legal procedure,” according to a federal court.  In re Radcliffe, Order (Illinois Courts Commission August 23, 2001).