Throwback Thursday 

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for taking additional testimony from a plaintiff in a harassment case after disconnecting from the defendant, who was appearing by telephone; failing to cooperate with requests from the Commission on Judicial Conduct; and making misrepresentations to the Commission. Inquiry Concerning Parker, Order (Arizona Supreme Court June 4, 2012).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge who, when a defendant said he had hit a driver who had honked at him and flipped him off, had responded: “I know I shouldn’t say it, but I personally did not disagree with what you did.”  Lester, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 1, 2012).
  • Accepting the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for being habitually tardy for hearings, first appearances, and trials and making a statement that introduced his religious beliefs into decision-making. Inquiry Concerning Singbush, 93 So. 3d 188 (Florida 2012).
  • Granting an application filed by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. In the Matter of Block, 816 N.W.2d 362 (Iowa 2012).
  • Based on the judge’s resignation and withdrawal of her request for review, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge in accordance with the findings of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that she (1) improperly intervened in the disposition of a speeding ticket issued to another judge’s wife and (2) accepted special consideration for a speeding ticket that had been issued to herself. The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s conduct; this summary is based on the Commission determination.  In the Matter of Schilling, Order (New York Court of Appeals June 19, 2012).
  • The New York Court of Appeals removed a judge from office for presiding over 8 matters involving his paramour’s relatives without disclosing the conflict; engaging in ex parte communications with his paramour and her relatives concerning 4 of the matters; and making dispositions in 5 of the matters that conveyed an appearance of favoritism. In the Matter of Young, 974 N.E.2d 658 (New York 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with the investigative panel, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for conducting a hearing and setting release conditions for a defendant accused of burglarizing his office. Re Randolph, Letter of reprimand (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary June 15, 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with the investigative panel, the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary publicly reprimanded a judge for telling a group of defendants that he wished he could “pull a trap door” and send them “straight to hell right now.” Re Houston (Tennessee Court of the Judiciary June 25, 2012).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for (1) failing to decide 21 causes submitted to him for decision within 90 days, (2) executing and submitting numerous salary affidavits falsely stating that he had no causes under submission for more than 90 days, and (3) failing to act on over 200 fee waiver applications within the time allowed by law. Inquiry Concerning Freedman (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 26, 2007).
  • Based on the findings of the Judiciary Commission and stipulations, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 15 days without pay for setting an excessive bond to retaliate against the mayor’s opponents. In re Adams, 959 So.2d 474 (Louisiana 2007).
  • Based on the findings of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 60 days for abusing her contempt power in 2 matters, abusing and exceeding her authority by revoking the defendant’s bond in 2 matters, and treating an attorney in a rude, impatient and sarcastic manner. In re Sassone, 959 So. 2d 859 (Louisiana 2007).
  • Adopting the findings of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court admonished a former judge for (1) failing to tell a defendant he had the right to be represented by an attorney during a hearing on an outstanding fine; (2) finding a woman in contempt when she paid a parking fine with a check that had “assholes” written in the memo area; (3) paying a fine to his own court clerk when his failure to respond to a parking summons led to the suspension of his license and asking a member of the court staff to fax a request to the motor vehicle commission to have his license reinstated; and (4) refusing to release a defendant on bail until the defendant produced valid identification or verified he was not being sought by federal immigration officials. In the Matter of Gordon, 924 A.2d 512 (New Jersey 2007).
  • Granting a petition filed by the Commission on Judicial Standards based on stipulated findings of fact, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for endorsing a mayor for re-election and authorizing the use of his name in an endorsement that was published in the local newspaper. Inquiry Concerning Vincent, 172 P.3d 605 (New Mexico 2007).
  • The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a court of appeals judge who had entered a plea of guilty to impaired driving. In re McCullough, Public Reprimand (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission June 27, 2007).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for discussing the merits of a criminal case with witnesses outside the presence of the defendant and a prosecutor; conducting her own independent investigation of the allegations; failing to take a plea from the defendant; failing to advise the defendant of his constitutional rights; proceeding to trial in the absence of a prosecutor; finding the defendant guilty with no prima facie proof presented by a prosecutor; ignoring the defendant’s rights to a jury trial, to confront and cross-examine his accusers and witnesses, and against self-incrimination; failing to render her judgment in open court; and failing to reduce the judgment of conviction to writing. Public Admonition of Gomez (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 15, 2007).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of an order of censure for a former judge who (1) submitted forms to the administrative office of the court misrepresenting the number of hours of continuing education he had attended and (2) failed to make unemployment insurance contributions required by law for a company he owned. In re Cox, Order (Utah Supreme Court June 13, 2007).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to properly advise criminal defendants of their constitutional and procedural rights at arraignments and probation review hearings; failing to accept guilty pleas in accordance with court rules; and engaging in a practice that appeared to coerce criminal defendants to waive their right to a jury trial. In the Matter of Odell, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 8, 2007).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for comments to the press about a pending investigation of over $8,000 missing from the court probation department funds. Statement of Admonition of Letsinger (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications June 13, 1997).
  • The Kentucky Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days for, as part of her campaign against the incumbent judge, distributing a campaign advertisement in a document designed to mislead voters into believing it was a newspaper and distributing a letter that referred to the incumbent’s sentence in a child abuse case and then stated, “Please join me in stopping the abuse and vote for a person who will let no one walk away before justice is served.” Summe v. Judicial Retirement and Removal Commission, 947 S.W.2d 42 (Kentucky 1997).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge who had improperly intervened on behalf of his daughter in 3 incidents. In the Matter of Chase, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 10, 1997).
  • Accepting a judge’s stipulation consenting to the implementation of the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Utah Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who had had a large malpractice judgement entered against him for conduct as an attorney prior to appointment to bench, had filed for bankruptcy, and had answered “no” on his application for judicial appointment to questions asking whether he had ever been or was currently a defendant in a malpractice suit and whether he was currently the subject of an investigation that could result in civil or criminal action. Re Shumate, Order (Utah Supreme Court June 1, 1997).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission and a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for remarks published in a newspaper concerning public schools, the provocative dress of female students, the prevalence of blacks on welfare and in the criminal justice system, and the propriety of making racial slurs and telling racial jokes in private. Re:  Santora, 600 So. 2d 1269 (Florida 1992).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed from office a magistrate who had failed to complete the required training for magistrates. In the Matter of Holcomb, 418 S.E.2d 63 (Georgia 1992).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court suspended a chief magistrate without pay for 30 days for not giving a black associate magistrate a key to the office and forcing him to work out of the trunk of his car. In the Matter of Hammock, 417 S.E.2d 129 (Georgia 1992).
  • Adopting the findings of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a magistrate who had represented a defendant in a jury trial. In the Matter of Hammons, 484 N.W.2d 401 (Michigan 1992).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court removed a former judge from office for using marijuana and supplying marijuana to another individual on one occasion and for arranging an introduction to help an individual obtain employment from a litigant who was a party to an action before the court on which the judge sat. In the Matter of Pepe, 607 A.2d 988 (New Jersey 1992).
  • The Rhode Island Supreme Court removed a judge for agreeing to appoint an attorney as a receiver, special master, or similar position in return for 25% of the fees paid to the attorney; failing to notify counsel in a criminal case that he had business dealings with one of the attorneys of record and one of the defendants; and failing to deny or discourage a defendant’s assertion that he had bought the judge. In the Matter of Almeida, 611 A.2d 1375 (Rhode Island 1992).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) delays of 320 days, 237 days, and 110 days in 3 matters in less than a year, (2) submission of 11 false salary affidavits, (3) failure as presiding judge to circulate a list of cases under submission, and (4) failure to respond to e-mails inquiring about submitted matters. In the Matter Concerning Kirihara, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 16, 2012).
  • Based on findings by a Board of Examining Officers supported by the judge’s admissions, the Delaware Court on the Judiciary removed a judge for advising a young female attorney in an e-mail how to prepare a memorandum in a case before him and hearing cases involving the attorney after developing and expressing romantic feelings for her. In re Henriksen, 70 A.3d 206 (Delaware Court on the Judiciary 2012).
  • The Illinois Courts Commission suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for striking a parked car, then driving his damaged car from the scene at a high rate of speed, disobeying multiple stop signs, causing a 13-year-old girl to move away from the road quickly to avoid being struck, causing the police to wait when they arrived at his home, and being less than candid before the Commission. In re Popejoy, Order (Illinois Courts Commission May 9, 2012).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a former judge for (1) in an adoption proceeding, failing to return a child to the child’s biological parent, failing to recognize the mother’s right to revoke her consent, failing to provide the unrepresented biological parents with adequate information about obtaining counsel, and injecting the father’s immigration status into the matter and (2) displaying an impatient, undignified, and discourteous demeanor in a custody case. In the Matter of Poyfair, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 4, 2012).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Accepting a stipulation and adopting the findings, conclusions, and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Alaska Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for (1) making pre-signed bail orders available for prosecutors to use for out-of-custody arraignments; (2) failing to diligently track speedy trial timeframes; (3) engaging in ex parte communications and presiding over a matter from which he should have disqualified himself; and (4) making inappropriate sexual comments to female court employees in the workplace. In re Landry, 157 P.3d 1049 (Alaska 2007).
  • Based on a stipulated agreement, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for a campaign flyer that used multiple exclamation points, a bold font, and capital letters and made insinuations about his opponent. Inquiry Concerning Gastelum, Public Reprimand (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 8, 2007).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for a pattern of discourteous and sarcastic comments to attorneys and litigants. Public Admonishment of Petrucelli (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 22, 2007).
  • Based on a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration above the limit. In the Matter of Hanley, 867 N.E.2d 157 (Indiana 2007).
  • Based on the findings of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 30 days without pay for issuing an arrest warrant against a neighbor with whom she had a poor relationship. In re Alfonso, 957 So.2d 121 (Louisiana 2007).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for “passing” 14 traffic tickets to the file over the objections of the issuing officer. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Gordon, 955 So. 2d 300 (Mississippi 2007).
  • Granting a petition filed by the Commission on Judicial Standards based on stipulated facts, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for endorsing a mayor for re-election and authorizing the use of his name in an endorsement published in the newspaper. Inquiry Concerning Vincent, 172 P.3d 605 (New Mexico 2007).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge who sentenced 2 defendants represented by an attorney just before announcing that she was barring the attorney from appearing before her in the future and who barred the attorney from appearing before her based on unsubstantiated hearsay information. In the Matter of Appel, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2007).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and argument on the issue of sanctions, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge who (1) in 2 matters, engaged in ex parte communications and made biased statements about the parties, notwithstanding that he had previously been admonished for similar conduct and (2) failed to disqualify himself in 7 cases when his personal attorney appeared. In the Matter of Merrill, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 14, 2007).
  • Accepting a recommendation of the Judicial Standards Commission based on stipulated facts, the North Carolina Supreme Court removed a former judge from office for his conviction for failing to file federal income tax returns. In re Balance, 643 S.E.2d 584 (North Carolina 2007).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge from office without pay for 6 months for setting a bond for the friend of a sheriff’s officer even though he was not the magistrate on call, did not seek permission to conduct the special bond hearing, did not conduct hearings for any other inmates awaiting bond hearings, and failed to inform the chief magistrate that a hearing had been conducted. In the Matter of Davis, 645 S.E.2d 243 (South Carolina 2007).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for delays ranging from 13 months to 34 months in deciding 13 cases. In the Matter of King, Final Decision and Order (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission May 21, 1997)
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission imposed an informal adjustment on a part-time judge for a delay of almost 32 months in rendering a decision after trying a case. Letter to McKimm (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission May 21, 1997)
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who was rude, abusive, and insulting to 2 assistant state attorneys and refused to allow a victim to make a statement as was her right, addressed the victim in an improperly raised voice, acted in an overbearing and dictatorial manner, had the victim escorted to the rear of the courtroom, and mimicked a shooting gun as she was led away. Re Wright, 694 So. 2d 734 (Florida 1997).
  • Based on a joint statement of circumstances and conditional agreement, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for (1) failing to disqualify himself from a case in which he had submitted written materials, which were highly critical of the defendant, in support of an attorney against whom the defendant had filed a grievance or to disclose that fact to the defendant; (2) imposing a lengthier sentence on a defendant who demanded a jury trial than he would have imposed if she had submitted to a bench trial or pleaded guilty; and (3) misrepresenting the law to a defendant and forcing her to choose between proceeding without counsel or exercising her right to counsel and facing contempt and incarceration. In the Matter of Cox, 680 N.E.2d 528 (Indiana 1997).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a court of appeal judge for failing to disqualify herself from an appeal by a party with whom the judge had a close, personal relationship. In re Cooks, 694 So. 2d 892 (Louisiana 1997).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Nebraska Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for offensive and unwelcome conduct that amounted to sexual harassment toward female court personnel, citizens having business in the courts, and student interns and for disseminating religious materials to jurors. In re Empson, 562 N.W.2d 817 (Nebraska 1997).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for (1) presiding over cases involving his friends notwithstanding that he had been previously cautioned by the Commission against doing so and (2) confronting a woman, in the presence of her employer, after she sent a letter to the editor of the local newspaper criticizing him. In the Matter of Robert, 680 N.E.2d 594 (New York 1997).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who had issued a warrant of eviction without any notice to the tenant and without conducting any court proceeding based solely on the ex parte request of the landlord. In the Matter of Holmes, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 29, 1997).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge who had stated, “Oh, it’s been a rough day — all those blacks in here” and had conditioned his disqualification from a case on the withdrawal of complaints against him. In the Matter of Jensen, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 29, 1997).