Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting an agreement, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for nepotism and entering into a contract that created the perception that the court’s business was based on the exchange of favors.  In the Matter of Goodman, 649 N.E.2d 115 (Indiana 1995).
  • The Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications ordered a judge to cease and desist from any act that could be found to violate the laws including those laws relating to the consumption and use of alcoholic beverages; the judge had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and entered into a diversion agreement.  Inquiry Concerning Stewart, Order (Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications April 23, 1995).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to render timely decisions regarding 2 estates and 19 petitions for termination of parental rights.  In re Fischer, 657 A.2d 535 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 1995).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline suspended a judge for 7 calendar days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for (1) accepting and using 4 tickets to a college football game from a husband involved in divorce proceedings pending before him and (2) a pattern of unreasonable and unjustifiable delay in the disposition of cases.  In re Daghir, 657 A.2d 1032 Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 1995).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants.  Addington, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct March 16, 2010).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for dismissing a DWI charge for a relative within the 3rd degree after it was determined and agreed that the state could not prove the charge.  Re Johnson, Letter of Admonishment (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission March 19, 2010).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for granting a writ of error coram nobis to facilitate the testimony of a witness whose criminal case had been closed to support the prosecution in a separate pending criminal case.  Re Sims, Letter of Admonishment (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission March 19, 2010.
  • Pursuant to a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 60 days for, during an investigation into a shooting at her home, asking a law enforcement officer to dispose of potential evidence; the Court also ordered the judge to disqualify herself for 1 year from any cases in which any of the witnesses who appeared for the state at her criminal trial are involved and to satisfy therapeutic treatment and reporting requirements.  In the Matter of Koethe, 922 N.E.2d 613 (Indiana 2010).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court removed a former judge from office following his guilty plea to charges of obstructing, influencing, and impeding an official federal corruption investigation and grand jury proceeding.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. DeLaughter, 29 So.3d 750 (Mississippi 2010).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge had accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) comments about a defendant who did not speak English and was in the country illegally and (2) calling a defendant pathological liar and comparing him to O.J. Simpson.  In the Matter of Citta (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2010).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge had accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) comments that created the appearance he was making fun of a litigant and (2) and asking an attorney “when did you become an illegal alien?”  In the Matter of Convery (New Jersey Supreme Court March 8, 2010).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for using his judicial title in communications asking prison officials to confiscate documents that contained information detrimental to his interests in a personal injury lawsuit against an inmate and for failing to be forthright when questioned.  In re Calderon, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 26, 2010).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for his policy of scheduling trials based on the availability of the issuing police officers, resulting in a failure to efficiently and promptly schedule trials in more than 500 traffic matters.  In re Barlaam, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 15, 2010).
  • The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for intimidating and inappropriate outbursts at prosecutors in 2 cases in another judge’s courtroom in which his wife was the defense attorney.  Public Reprimand of Smith (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission March 4, 2010).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for accepting tickets to San Antonio Spurs basketball games from a lawyer who wrote bail bonds and/or practiced in her court and writing a letter of recommendation for a person with a pending criminal case.  Public Admonition of Guerrero (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 26, 2010) .
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) mishandling a case in which a defendant did not pay a fine; (2) finding numerous individuals in contempt of court without legal authority and ordering them arrested and incarcerated without first issuing a written finding of contempt and/or commitment order; (3) failing to reduce orders and judgments to writing; (4) mishandling truancy cases; (5) ordering truancy defendants to relinquish their cell phones without legal authority; (6) including directives in emergency protective orders outside his legal authority; and (7) presiding over 2 matters involving family members who were the sons of his immediate supervisor and giving them favorable treatment; the Commission also ordered the judge to get 20 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Reprimand of Garza and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 30, 2010).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for having 7 adults (a caseworker, her supervisor, the CASA volunteer, the reintegration project coordinator, the Texas Family Support Services parent coach and mentor, and a juvenile’s mother) locked in in-take cells for approximately 20 minutes after becoming angry and frustrated with their recommendation that a juvenile be detained.  Public Admonition of Meurer (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 30, 2010).

 

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Affirming the findings and recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge who had engaged in a pattern of conduct in which he acted with hostility towards attorneys, court personnel, and fellow judges, including (1) intimidating 2 attorneys into withdrawing from representation of a client by threatening to recuse from all of their cases; (2) entering an order directing a litigant to show cause why she should not be held in indirect criminal contempt for writing a letter to the governor complaining of the judge’s handling of her case; (3) seeking to hold a guidance clinic counselor in contempt and threatening to put the clinic out of business; (4) limiting the rights of pro se petitioners with domestic violence complaints by requiring employees of the domestic abuse shelter to submit affidavits that stated that they did not furnish any assistance to the petitioners, which chilled the willingness of victims and staff to come forward with legitimate claims, and falsely stating in a letter to a newspaper that the staff of the shelter agreed to use the forms; (5) engaging in a pattern of antagonism with court staff and other judges; (6) independently investigating a bailiff by interviewing a witness without notice to the bailiff and without counsel on his behalf, intending to release the information to a newspaper; (7) slamming a door in a bailiff’s face; (8) inappropriately criticizing a bailiff; (9) entering an order in a capital case improperly implying that 2 attorneys were guilty of unethical conduct without allowing an opportunity to respond and threatening that he would refer any failure of counsel to comply with his directives to the chief justice; (10) denying a motion for recusal and then entering an order inaccurately criticizing defense counsel without affording them an opportunity to respond; (11) suggesting that attorneys in a domestic violence case were encouraging their client to disobey his orders when they filed motions for a stay and finding the client in contempt; (12) falsely accusing an assistant state attorney of attempting to make ex parte contacts with him and threatening to report him to The Florida Bar; (13) falsely accusing an assistant state attorney of stating that he had engaged in ex parte communications; (14) improperly seeking to involve third parties in an internal dispute concerning court administrative matters by publicly disseminating his version of events; (15) verbally attacking fellow judges in a judges’ meeting; (16) violating the confidence of another judge by disclosing the contents of a confidential memorandum; and (17) threatening to assess attorney fees against the clerk of the circuit court.  Inquiry Concerning Shea, 759 So. 2d 631 (Florida 2000).
  • Approving a recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on stipulated facts, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded an appellate judge for berating 2 legal interns who were presenting arguments before the court, cutting short their oral arguments, and making discourteous remarks about the professor who was supervising their arguments.   Inquiry Concerning Schwartz, 755 So. 2d 110 (Florida 2000).
  • Acting on an application of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) holding a hearing to set aside a temporary injunction that another judge had issued while counsel for one of the parties was engaged in the trial of a previously scheduled matter in the same courthouse, (2) failing to recuse from an attorney fee application after announcing his bias toward an attorney who opposed the application, (3) subverting the Commission’s authority to rule on a discovery request by serving on the complaint a subpoena issued by the clerk for the judge’s court, and (4) showing disrespect toward the Commission chair.  In the Matter of Stigler, 607 N.W.2d 699 (Iowa 2000).
  • Adopting the findings of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended from the practice of law for 6 months a judge who, after observing a car being operated erratically, had written the owner a letter on court stationery telling her to contact the court and held an inquisitory hearing without legal authority; the Court stayed the entire 6 months suspension provided the judge engages in no further violations.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Hoague, 725 N.E.2d 1108 (Ohio 2000).
  • Adopting the findings, conclusion, and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge who, while a judge, had used invitations to pool parties at his residence that were undignified, lacking in taste, and may have been offensive to many of the invitees.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Mascio, 725 N.E.2d 1111 (Ohio 2000).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a magistrate from office for her handling of a dispute with the sheriff and county board.  Inquiry Concerning O’Neal, 454 S.E.2d 780 (Georgia 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a non-lawyer judge for handling 365 cases, including committing defendants to jail in 36 cases, without successfully completing the training course required by statute before he could assume the duties of office.  In the Matter of Yusko, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 7, 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for presiding while intoxicated and, in 2 small claims cases, entering judgements based on his conversations with litigants outside of court.  In the Matter of Bradigan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 10, 1995).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for, at a number of arraignments, failing to advise the defendants of their rights, and, in 7 cases involving defendants charged with patronizing a prostitute, eliciting potentially incriminating statements, making remarks that presumed guilt, and making sarcastic and inappropriate statements.  In the Matter of Austria, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 10, 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for dismissing a series of cases without according the prosecutor the opportunity to be heard and, in 3 cases, initiating and considering ex parte communications on the merits.  In the Matter of More, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for, after receiving an inquiry from the Commission concerning his handling of a criminal case, telling the defendant in that case to lie to the Commission.  In the Matter of Menard, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 13, 1995).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a judge for giving ex parte advice to an assistant prosecuting attorney about an on-going criminal trial.  In the Matter of Starcher, 457 S.E.2d 147 (West Virginia 1995).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for appearing in a photograph on his law firm’s web-site in a judicial robe and advertising himself on the web-site as an active part-time judge pro tem in the Arizona court system.  Watters, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 6, 2015).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for presiding over a criminal damage trial even though he was a leasing agent for the company that managed the property that had been damaged and had spoken with the resident of the property about the damage.  Wilson, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 6, 2015).
  • Based on the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for (1) assuming the role of prosecutor by contacting an attorney to offer a deferral agreement to the attorney’s client, who had received a speeding ticket; (2) permitting deferral payments to be sent directly to the court, rather than to the prosecutor’s office; and (3) adopting a practice in which she or her court clerk would directly negotiate deferral agreements with defendants, rather than allowing the prosecutor to offer these agreements.  Public Admonition of Hagerty (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications February 9, 2015). 
  • Accepting a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court permanently banned a former judge from serving in any judicial capacity for (1) abusing her judicial powers in several cases; (2) failing to follow proper legal procedures in guilty plea and sentencing hearings; (3) injudicious behavior outside of the courtroom relating to her conflict with the father of her children; and (4) during the Commission’s investigation, providing incomplete answers to requests for information, failing to respond to Commission communications in a timely manner or at all, failing to respond to the Commission’s subpoena duces tecum, and failing to appear for depositions.  In the Matter of Bennington, 24 N.E.3d 958 (Indiana 2015).
  • Granting an application of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Iowa Supreme Court reprimanded a part-time magistrate for signing a warrant to search the home of a client.  In the Matter of Krull, 860 N.W.2d 38 (Iowa 2015).
  • Based on the findings of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications and adopting its conclusions of law, the Kansas Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days without pay for (1) making offensive and demeaning comments of a sexual nature to female attorneys and staff members; (2) sending an ex parte e-mail to an attorney’s client that expressed bias or prejudice toward the attorney; and (3) trying to broker an employment opportunity for his wife.  In the Matter of Henderson, 343 P.3d 518 (Kansas 2015).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, based on stipulated facts , which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for (1) using his judicial stationery to attempt to intercede in a juvenile matter on behalf of a councilman’s daughter and (2) representing a Garwood Borough councilman in a personal matter while serving as judge on the Garwood municipal court.  In the Matter of Inacio, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court February 27, 2015).
  • Based on stipulations of facts and stipulated violations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge for 2 years for exhibiting a demeaning attitude toward counsel and litigants in 2 matters before him; the Court stayed the suspension on the condition that he commit no further misconduct and comply with a contract with the Ohio Lawyer Assistance Program.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Weithman, 34 N.E.3d 865 (Ohio 2015) .
  • Based on the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for his conduct in several hearings in a juvenile case, which the Court of Appeals had determined was a “procedural train wreck.”  Re Newell (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct February 25, 2015).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for telling a defendant that his fedora would be removed if he did not provide support for his statement that wearing it was part of his Jewish faith.  In re Ladenburg, Stipulation, agreement, and reprimand (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 20, 2015).
  • With the judge’s consent, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board issued a letter of counsel to a judge for leaving the scene of an accident.  Letter to Rega (Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board February 10, 2015).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for speaking loudly to the complainant in a sharp, rude manner and threatening him with contempt and arrest during a hearing involving the complainant’s wife.  McCullar, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 2, 2010).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation for discipline by consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a former judge for revising a settlement agreement to provide that payment to the class representative and attorney would be made in gift certificates.  Inquiry Concerning Klein, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 2, 2010).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, during her 2008 campaign, using the term “re-elect” even though she had been appointed, not elected, and stating that she had 20 years of legal experience even though she had not been admitted to practice law until 1994.  Inquiry Concerning Dempsey, 29 So. 3d 1030 (Florida 2010).
  • Approving the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) revoking a defendant’s bond and imposing a higher bond to punish the defendant for exercising his right to file a motion to recuse and (2) impeding the ability of pro se petitioners in domestic violence injunction proceedings to obtain relief by being unduly rigid and formulaic.  Inquiry Concerning Eriksson, 36 So. 3d 580 (Florida 2010).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge who had pled guilty to the gross misdemeanor for failing to file personal state tax returns for 5 years.  Public Reprimand of Venne (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards February 17, 2010).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for a campaign letter that conveyed bias and the appearance of bias in favor of pistol permit holders and that misrepresented his authority over pistol permits.  In re McGrath, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2010).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge’s license to practice for 1 year for 2 convictions of disorderly conduct because of physical altercations with his girlfriend; the Court stayed the suspension with conditions.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Russo, 923 N.E.2d 144 (Ohio 2010).
  • Based on agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended a magistrate for 90 days without pay for failure to reconcile his accounts.  In the Matter Hudson, 690 S.E.2d 72 (South Carolina 2010).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for ticket-fixing.  In the Matter of Woodham, 689 S.E.2d 605 (South Carolina 2010).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Reviewing the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former appellate judge for (1) making a false or misleading statement during an attorney discipline proceeding and (2) failing to disclose that an attorney appearing before him was representing a member of his immediate family in highly contentious domestic litigation. Inquiry Concerning Frank, 753 So. 2d 1228 (Florida 2000).
  • Pursuant to consent, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge for 10 days without pay and publicly censured him for (1) knowingly executing a judgment that falsely stated that the defendant had pled guilty to 3 misdemeanors, and (2) knowingly making false and misleading statements to the Judicial Tenure Commission during its investigation. In re Milhouse, 605 N.W.2d 15 (Michigan 2000).
  • Adopting a substantial portion of the findings of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $1,500 for (1) improperly sentencing a defendant under the wrong statute, doing nothing to correct her error, and stating under oath in her answer to the Commission’s complaint that the defendant had not been sentenced for the crime for which she had sentenced him; and (2) having a reporter arrested for disobeying her order by publishing an article regarding a juvenile proceeding without following correct procedures. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Byers, 757 So. 2d 961 (Mississippi 2000).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former supreme court justice who had been found guilty of 2 felony counts of criminal conspiracy; the Court also ordered that the justice be ineligible to hold judicial office in the future. In re Larsen, 746 A.2d 108 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline February 2000).
  • Reviewing the findings of fact and conclusions of law of a judicial conduct panel, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended a judge for 6 months without pay for (1) recurring delay in deciding cases between 1991 and 1998, (2) filing certifications of status of pending cases that falsely represented that no cases were awaiting decision beyond the prescribed period, and (3) stating falsely to the Judicial Commission that he had no cases awaiting decision beyond the prescribed period. In the Matter of Waddick, 605 N.W.2d 861 (Wisconsin 2000).