Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • By agreement, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for allowing an ex parte communication in his chambers between the judge presiding in a case and parties to the case, who were related to the chair of the county Republican Party.  Public Admonition of Funke (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications July 8, 1999).
  • The North Carolina Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for entering a finding of not guilty to a traffic charge without hearing any sworn testimony or giving the state the opportunity to present evidence.  In re Tucker, 516 S.E.2d 593 (North Carolina 1999).
  • The North Dakota Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 6 month for harassing and stalking his ex-wife, engaging in conduct that showed disrespect for the courts, inserting his personal situation into proceedings in which he presided as a judge, and demonstrating a lack of dignity and courtesy to those appearing before him.  In the Matter of Hoffman, 595 N.W.2d 592 (North Dakota 1999).
  • The Washington Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) serving as president of 3 corporations included in an estate; (2) while an adjustment of the purchase price for one of the assets of the estate was being negotiated, accepting payments of his car loan from the purchaser and failing to disclose the payments to the trustee of the estate; and (3) failing to disclose the payment of the car loan on public disclosure forms.  In the Matter of Anderson, 981 P.2d 426 (Washington 1999).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a magistrate for improperly delaying the filing of a domestic violence protective order by screening the facts through an ex parte communication and by deterring the individuals who sought the order from coming to the courthouse on a Saturday to file a petition.  In the Matter of McCormick, 521 S.E.2d 792 (West Virginia 1999).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge who had been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.  Letter to Judge Taylor (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission July 18, 1994).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a part-time judge for giving misleading testimony during a disciplinary committee investigation of his conduct as a lawyer.  In the Matter of Barlaam, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 27, 1994).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Approving a stipulation and the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s findings and recommendation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $25,000 for (1) purchasing a table at a Republican Party fund-raiser; (2) failing to include the qualifier “for” required for non-incumbent candidates in some of her campaign materials; and (3) accepting funds for her campaign from her husband in excess of the $500 contribution limit imposed by law. Inquiry Concerning Krause, 141 So. 3d 1197 (Florida 2014).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of the law of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for (1) perfunctorily closing a courtroom to the public and the victim’s family without complying with a statute; (2) refusing to impose a mandatory sentence even after the statutory language was brought to his attention; (3) refusing to remand a defendant convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under 13 to jail to await sentencing as required by court rule; (4) disregarding an appellate court order directing him to hold a hearing; (5) recasting an order dismissing a case without prejudice to justify his sua sponte dismissal of the case despite the defendant’s intention to plead guilty; (6) subpoenaing a defendant’s medical records without the parties’ knowledge or consent; (7) personally bringing a defendant convicted of several violent crimes from lock-up and sentencing him without restraints or courtroom security present; and (8) coming down from the bench at the start of a trial to shake hands with a criminal defendant and deliver papers to his counsel. In re Morrow, 854 N.W.2d 89 (Michigan 2014).
  • The Montana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge and suspended him for 31 days without pay for his comments while sentencing a teacher for sexual intercourse without consent with a 14-year-old student, imposing an unlawful sentence, attempting to retract his sentence, and making inappropriate public statements attempting to justify his actions. Inquiry Concerning Baugh, 334 P.3d 352 (Montana 2014).
  • Upholding the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for presiding over matters involving (1) a lawyer who was her close friend and personal attorney; (2) a lawyer who was or had been her campaign manager; and (3) a lawyer who was her former attorney. In the Matter of Doyle, 17 N.E.3d 1127 (New York 2014).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, based on stipulated facts and the judge’s agreement, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge’s law license for 1 year, but stayed the suspension, for (1) during his transition from private practice to the bench, neglecting a client’s personal injury case and continuing to practice law after becoming a judge and (2) failing to timely withdraw his earned fees from his client trust account, commingling personal and client funds. Disciplinary Counsel v. Bender, 11 N.E.3d 1168 (Ohio 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with the Disciplinary Board, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended a judge’s law license for 1 year based on her guilty plea to 3 misdemeanor charges of tampering with public records for dismissing 3 of her own parking tickets. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Ballentine (Pennsylvania Supreme Court June 16, 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with an investigative panel, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify herself from a case in which an attorney who had been her campaign treasurer and her personal attorney appeared and her comments in several cases. Re Solomon, Letter of reprimand (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 16, 2014).

 

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge who became angry with a litigant, telling her to change her attitude, stating, “I am the judge,” and warning her that she would not be able to present her evidence if her attitude did not change. Hyatt, Amended Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2009).
  • Granting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct based on a stipulation and the judge’s agreement to resign, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to issue decisions within 60 days in 25 cases over 3 years, submitting 11 inaccurate salary certifications, and failing to institute a comprehensive case-tracking system. Inquiry Concerning Hinson, Judgment and Order (Arizona Supreme Court June 2009).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a justice of the peace for orally setting terms of visitation relating to a pending superior court case although she had been notified that the superior court case was pending. Amended Order Davis (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 24, 2009).
  • With the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for (1) participating in an ex parte conversation with a defendant about her traffic infractions and assuming the role of the prosecutor by negotiating a resolution to the case and (2) employing his wife as court clerk. Public Admonition of Huizenga (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications June 22, 2009).
  • Granting a joint motion, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $2,000 for, in a criminal case, engaging in ex parte communications with the victim, the defendant, and her mother; allowing the defendant’s mother to enter a plea for the defendant; failing to act with courtesy toward the defendant; writing a note to the defendant’s employer; and finding the defendant in contempt and ordering her to pay restitution based on a prior incomplete order. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Vess, 10 So. 3d 486 (Mississippi 2009).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a former judge for 1 year without pay for disparaging remarks about Caucasian officials and their African-American appointees. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Osborne, 11 So. 3d 107 (Mississippi 2009).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed a former judge for committing a minor to detention without a hearing and taking other action after recusing himself from the case. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Osborne, 16 So. 3d 16 (Mississippi 2009).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court permanently disqualified a former judge from holding judicial office for (1) twice presiding while intoxicated; (2) disorderly conduct in a bar and referring to his judicial status; (3) abusing the contempt power in several matters and intemperate conduct; (4) consulting with a municipal entity; (5) giving “discounts” in vehicle cases based on the defendants’ status as a high school student; and (6) routinely sanctioning latecomers. In the Matter of Sasso, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court June 2, 2009).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for driving while intoxicated and obstructive conduct at the police headquarters after his arrest. In the Matter of Tourison, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court June 2, 2009).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to render decisions in a timely manner in 47 cases. In the Matter of Gilpatric, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 5, 2009).
  • Based on an agreed statement of fact and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, over a 6-year period, failing to render timely decisions in 29 cases and failing to report 10 of the delayed cases as required to court administrators. In the Matter of Turner, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 30, 2009).
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a judge for altering a court order and a letter from the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization retroactive to his interim suspension. In the Matter of Sullivan, 679 S.E.2d 525 (South Carolina 2009).

 

 

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge and barred him from receiving assignments, appointments, or references of work from any California state court for actions beginning with his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol and culminating 5 months later with his arrest for riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol, and included additional arrests for driving while intoxicated, appearing intoxicated at the courthouse, violating an emergency protective order his estranged wife had obtained, and being unavailable for work on 6 days in 4 months. Inquiry Concerning Bradley, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Conduct June 3, 1999).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) identifying herself as a judge when stopped by a police officer and (2) presiding multiple times in court while under the influence of alcohol. In the Matter of Knott, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 11, 1999).
  • Adopting the findings and conclusions of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge from the practice of law for 18 months (with the final 12 months stayed) and from his position as a judge for 6 months without pay for making derogatory remarks about court officers. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Ferreri, 710 N.E.2d 1107 (Ohio 1999).
  • Pursuant to a former judge’s consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the former judge for several abuses of power and lying to investigators and banned him from seeking appointing to judicial office in the state without authorization. In the Matter of Wilder, 516 S.E.2d 927 (South Carolina 1999).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for allowing court assistants to sign their names to tickets and other orders. In the Matter of Sons, 517 S.E.2d 214 (South Carolina 1999).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Utah Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for his treatment of a traffic violation defendant and for ordering another defendant to take his stalking victim to dinner. Re Allredge, Order (Utah Supreme Court June 22, 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a court commissioner for comments to a female employee. In re Aronow, Stipulation, agreement and order of admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 4, 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for entering incorrect information in support of an order granting the court’s own motion to waive fees to facilitate the prompt service of an anti-harassment order she had entered. In re DuBois, Approval of stipulation agreement and order of censure (Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct June 4, 1999).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Supreme Court suspended a non-lawyer justice of the peace for 90 days without pay for influencing another judge’s handling of traffic matters concerning a friend and a relative.  In re Lorona, 875 P.2d 795 (Arizona 1994).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for participating in card games for amounts exceeding $10 a hand in violation of a state statute.  Re McIver, 638 So. 2d 45 (Florida 1994).
  • Approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) admonishing, abusing, and berating an army recruiter for wearing his dress uniform to court and (2) arbitrarily and improperly finding 6 traffic defendants in contempt without due process because they drove away from the courthouse after he had suspended their licenses.  Inquiry Concerning Perry, 641 So. 2d 366 (Florida 1994).
  • Granting a joint motion for approval of a recommendation for discipline based on an agreed statement of facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $100 for receiving money from a defendant whom he had ordered to pay restitution and giving it to the person to whom the money was owed.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Vess, 637 So. 2d 882 (Mississippi 1994).
  • Upholding a determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for (1) stating that he recalled a time when it was safe for young women to walk the streets “before the blacks and Puerto Ricans moved here;” (2) conveying the appearance that he granted a motion in retaliation against an attorney-town justice, whose law firm represented one of the litigants in the case; and (3) failing to maintain adequate records and dockets of dispositions of criminal cases, resulting in a failure to report and remit fines and surcharges to the state comptroller.  In the Matter of Schiff, 635 N.E.2d 286 (New York 1994).
  • Upholding the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for subscribing as a witness on his designating petition for re-election when he had not been present at the time the petition was signed, in violation of state election laws.  In the Matter of Heburn, 639 N.E.2d 11 (New York 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for an angry and unseemly confrontation at the annual village street fair and violating the fundamental rights of a defendant in a criminal case.  In the Matter of Smith, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 16, 1994)
  • Concurring in the findings and recommendations of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court permanently disbarred a former judge who had been convicted of several felony charges for conspiring to use his judicial position to unlawfully obtain property not due him; receiving in excess of $230,000 in illegal payments or kickbacks, including from court-appointed contractors; and grand theft and theft while in office.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Mosely, 632 N.E.2d 1287 (Ohio 1994).
  • Based on a judge’s agreement to resign, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) intemperate behavior toward another judge, consisting of written notes and verbal comments witnessed by other persons; (2) derogatory remarks about defendants within the hearing of court personnel and other persons; (3) verbal abuse of court personnel or derogatory comments about them to third persons; (4) comments of a sexual nature that were vulgar and unwelcome; (5) lack of impartiality in administrative duties regarding personnel; and (6) asking court employees to engage in activity in support of his re-election campaign during court time.  In re the Matter of Allan, Order of Reprimand and Closure (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 3, 1994).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for serving on the board of directors of an organization to which her court referred litigants for services. Lorona, Disposition of Complaint (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct May 19, 2014).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a former judge for treating attorneys in a sarcastic and belittling manner in 2 cases. Public Admonishment of Sohigian (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 13, 2014).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving under the influence. Inquiry Concerning Sheehan, 139 So. 3d 290 (Florida 2014).
  • Based on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission removed a judge from office for a mental disability that persistently interfered with the performance of her judicial duties. In re Brim, Order (Illinois Courts Commission May 9, 2014).
  • Pursuant to an agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge without pay for 30 days for (1) permitting ex parte communications from defense attorneys about whether defendants would be arrested under warrants or summoned to appear in court; (2) entering orders in cases in which she was acquainted with a party; (3) addressing parties in court in an undignified and discourteous manner; (4) threatening the sheriff and his deputies with contempt and jail time in an attempt to influence the assignment of bailiffs in her court; and (5) ordering 2 individuals held for U.S. immigration and custom enforcement without legal basis. In re Ward, Agreed Order of Suspension (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission May 12, 2014).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days for engaging in numerous ex parte communications with the parties in a small claims case, having her constable obtain the police report of an altercation between the parties, failing to disqualify herself despite the ex parte communications and independent fact-finding, and allowing her constable to “assist” in the proceedings before her and in her decision-making. In re Foret, 144 So.3d 1028 (Louisiana 2014).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which were accepted by the judge and based on stipulations, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for pursuing a personal relationship with the victim in a domestic violence matter pending before him and fielding questions from the victim concerning the matter. In the Matter of Montes, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court May 22, 2014). The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s misconduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement with an investigative panel, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to disqualify herself from a case in which an attorney who had been her campaign treasurer and her personal attorney appeared and for her comments in several cases. Re Solomon, Letter of reprimand (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct May 16, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) an adversarial relationship with the director of the county community supervision and corrections department that improperly influenced his conduct and judgment and (2) his demeaning treatment of a prosecutor during a trial, including threatening to use duct tape on her, failing to rule on prosecution motions, and preventing her from conducting voir dire. Public Reprimand of Tittle (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 21, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) entering orders of deferred disposition that did not include an assessment of court costs as required by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and failing to maintain court records, receipts, or bank statements to document the court costs allegedly collected by court staff; (2) entering orders dismissing cases without notice to or a motion from the city prosecutor, as required by law; (3) entering orders indicating that he was holding trials and finding defendants not guilty without notifying the city prosecutor of trial settings and/or giving the prosecutor an opportunity to appear; (4) conducting his own independent investigation about whether there was probable cause for a citation; and (5) failing to supervise his staff and ensuring that the court’s business was conducted in a timely, efficient, and lawful manner. Public Reprimand of Cedillo (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 15, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a former judge for failing to disclose expenditures made by others on behalf of her campaign and to file campaign finance reports, as required by law. Public Warning of Cruz (Texas State Commission on Conduct Judicial May 16, 2014).
  • The Vermont Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for a 14-month delay in scheduling a hearing on a grandfather’s motion to terminate a father’s parental rights. In re Balivet, 98 A.3d 794 (Vermont 2014).