Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance removed a judge for (1) failing to dispose of matters promptly and executing false salary affidavits; (2) becoming embroiled in 3 criminal cases; and (3) failing to respond to a letter from the Commission. Inquiry Concerning Spitzer, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance October 2, 2007).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to decide a case within the 90 days permitted by law. Public Reprimand of Roue (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards October 4, 2007).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay and publicly reprimanded him for ex parte communications with and giving legal advice to a litigant. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Fowlkes, 967 So.2d 12 (Mississippi 2007).
  • Granting a stipulated petition for discipline, the New Mexico Supreme Court suspended a judge for 2 weeks without pay for (1) living in a housing authority home for 20 months without paying rent and (2) dismissing 3 traffic citations issued to the director of the housing authority. In the Matter of Gomez (New Mexico Supreme Court October 25, 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 newspaper. Inquiry Concerning Vincent, 172 P.3d 605 (New Mexico 2007).
  • Adopting the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former judge from the practice of law for 2 years for her conduct in 2 civil protection order cases, 2 divorce cases, and 1 case involving a complaint that a child was abused and neglected; the Court stayed 12 months of the suspension on condition that the former judge commit no further violations. Disciplinary Counsel v. Squire, 876 N.E.2d 933 (Ohio 2007).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a judge’s license to practice law for 18 months, with 6 months stayed with conditions, for (1) jailing a gallery spectator for contempt without cause; (2) presiding over a defendant’s plea and sentencing even though he had accompanied the police officer after signing a search warrant for the defendant’s apartment; (3) attempting to coerce plea agreements in 2 criminal cases; (4) insisting that a domestic violence victim’s facial injuries be photographed; (5) calling 911 to have a police officer sent to his chambers to transport a prisoner to court; (6) telephoning a defendant’s alleged drug dealer in open court; and (7) repeatedly mistreating defendants and other participants in court proceedings. Disciplinary Counsel v. Parker, 876 N.E.2d 556 (Ohio 2007).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for (1) stating, “I would if you pulled it out but you can’t find it,” in response to a vulgar statement by a defendant and (2) referring to the ethnicity of 2 defendants while presiding over mental health court. In the Matter of Chow, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 24, 2007).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Delaware Supreme Court suspended for 3 months without pay and publicly censured a part-time judge for (1) failing to pay federal, state, and city payroll taxes for his law firm’s payroll and to timely file withholding reports; (2) failing to pay property taxes and to pay delinquent property taxes in accordance with a schedule he and the county had agreed upon; (3) having 29 unpaid parking tickets; and (4) failing to properly maintain his law office records and to correctly answer questions on the certificate of compliance with client account reconciliation requirements. In the Matter of Williams, 701 A.2d 825 (Delaware 1997).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, as a candidate, (1) claiming to have circuit judicial experience, when her service was that of a general master; (2) claiming that her opponent had no circuit judicial experience, when she had extensive experience as a county judge who had been assigned to the circuit court; (3) injecting party politics into a non-partisan election by noting the party affiliation of the governor who had appointed her opponent as county judge; (4) including a photograph of her opponent sitting next to a criminal defendant, noting that her opponent “defend[ed] convicted mass murderer, cop killer, William Cruse,” when at the time of the photograph Cruse had not been convicted and her opponent was an assistant public defender; and (5) including a portion of a newspaper editorial implying that she, not her opponent, had been endorsed by the newspaper. Inquiry Concerning Alley, 699 So. 2d 1369 (Florida 1997).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay, fined her $1,500, and publicly reprimanded her for (1) issuing an arrest warrant on petit larceny and simple assault charges filed by a friend and distant relative; (2) having license tags from her husband’s car on her car; (3) writing a check she did not have sufficient funds in her checking account to cover; and (4) failing to file with the circuit clerk reports of contributions or expenditures required by statute. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Franklin, 704 So. 2d 89 (Mississippi 1997).
  • Affirming the determination of the Commission on Judicial Discipline, the Nevada Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) borrowing money from court employees and not always promptly repaying the loans, forcing the employees to make oral and/or written demands for payment; (2) publicly endorsing and campaigning for a judicial candidate and testifying falsely to the Commission that he had only gone to houses where he knew the residents while going door-to-door campaigning for the candidate; (3) storing antiques throughout the courthouse, selling those antiques to persons with whom he came in contact at the courthouse, and directing city employees and jail trustees to move antiques into and out of the courthouse; (4) directing court employees during normal business hours to go to the nursery business owned by his mother to provide Spanish translating services and to perform other personal errands for him, including antique shopping; (5) directing or suggesting to persons appearing before the court who had been found guilty to contribute money to certain charities in lieu of paying fines to the city, diverting approximately $405,916 from the city treasury to his selected charities; and (6) using property he owned in part that was zoned for residential purposes for commercial purposes after been advised by the community planning department of the proper zoning for the property and causing his agents to trespass on adjoining property to hook up water and sewer lines. In the Matter of Davis, 946 P.2d 1033 (Nevada 1997).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge for a series of legal and procedural errors in a harassment case and making improper statements that compromised his impartiality and the proper administration of justice. In the Matter of Smith, Determination (New York Commission on Judicial Conduct October 29, 1997).
  • Accepting the findings and conclusions of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline and adopting its recommendation, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for appearing in a television commercial for a law firm. Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Allen, 684 N.E.2d 31 (Ohio 1997).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Investigation Commission, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly admonished a judge for discussing the reduction of DUI charges against a distance relative with the police officer, communicating ex parte with the relative and other family members about the case at least 3 times, creating the appearance that he had struck a deal to reduce the charge, and accepting gifts of china and an ashtray in appreciation for his assistance. In the Matter of Reese, 495 S.E.2d 548 (West Virginia 1997).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge who had (1) solicited and accepted a $2,000 loan from an attorney, failed to report the loan on his statement of economic interest, and presided in cases involving that attorney’s law firm without disclosing the loan; (2) solicited a large loan from his court reporter; (3) falsely represented on his statement of economic interest the source of a loan from one of his girlfriends; (4) failed to report loans from one of his girlfriends and her mother; and (5) to intimidate and retaliate against his ex-girlfriend and her mother for cooperating in the investigation by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, assisted his son in preparing an anonymous, misleading letter that claimed his ex-girlfriend had been convicted of a felony and mailing the letter to the state agency that regulated the day care center that employed his ex-girlfriend and that her mother owns. In the Matter of Drury, 602 N.E.2d 1000 (Indiana 1992).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement with the judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct censured a judge for tossing a coin to decide a traffic infraction and entering a finding against the defendant when the defendant lost the coin toss. In re Turco, Stipulation (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 2, 1992).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement with the judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge who did not enter a decision in a small claims case within 15 days from the end of the hearing as required by court rules. In re Monson, Stipulation and Agreement (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 2, 1992).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement with a judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished a judge for failing in 5 cases to enter judgement within 15 days as required by court rules. In re Feutz, Stipulation and Agreement (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 2, 1992).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for submitting a character reference letter on behalf of an attorney in a reinstatement proceeding without being duly summoned. Barth, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 7, 2012).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the North Carolina Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to enter an equitable distribution judgment for 46 months after the conclusion of the hearing. Public Reprimand of Edwards (North Carolina Judicial Standards September 17, 2012).
  • Adopting stipulated facts and violations, the Ohio Supreme Court suspended a former magistrate’s law license for 1-year (but stayed the suspension) for treating litigants and counsel in a divorce case with disdain, permitting the guardian ad litem to lecture the parties on the record, terminating hearings before the parties had presented all their evidence and made a record of their objections, acting on his own whims rather than inquiring into the best interests of the child, failing to resolve the matters for more than a year and a half, and failing to conduct hearings in a manner that would permit the judge assigned to the case to resolve the issues in his stead. Disciplinary Counsel v. McCormack, 977 N.E.2d 598 (Ohio 2012).
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge for her work habits, her handling of truancy cases, her handling of landlord/tenant cases, and her demeanor in 6 cases. In re Merlo, 58 A.3d 1 (Pennsylvania 2012).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge because the public release of a videotape of him beating his daughter cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially as a judge and interfered with the proper performance of his judicial duties and for a pattern of incidents in which the judge displayed anger and poor judicial demeanor toward certain attorneys in his courtroom. Public Warning of Adams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 4, 2012).

 

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct to which the judge consented, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended a judge for 60 days without pay for arriving in the courtroom between 5 and 18 minutes after her calendar was scheduled to begin 20% of the time, blaming the clerks, and claiming the delays were caused by lost and incomplete files attributable to the relocation of her court; chastising staff in the administrative area; interrupting staff meetings to require administrators to look for files even when clerks were available; and criticizing clerks when files were not in order. In the Matter of McVay, Judgment and Order (Arizona Supreme Court September 25, 2007).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge who confronted a court employee in the public street and made a hand gesture in an accusatory manner and who used an obscene expletive in open court. Cornelio, Reprimand (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 12, 2007).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge who had quashed an arrest warrant based on the ex parte request of an attorney while the attorney was representing him in proceedings before the Commission. Morales, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct September 28, 2007).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for 2 incidents in which he failed to be dignified, patient, and courteous with deputies from the county sheriff’s department. Public Admonishment of Westra (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 5, 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).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who had gratuitously repeated a defendant’s inappropriate comments about his attorney’s physical appearance and repeatedly joked about the comments. In the Matter of Caplicki, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 26, 2007).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for finding defendants in a summary ejectment action in civil contempt due to their inability to pay a $2,480 award and ordering the defendants confined until the money was paid. In re Roemer, Public Reprimand (North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission September 4, 2007).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge who had pled guilty to common law misconduct in office for coercing defendants to surrender money and property to the town in exchange for having their criminal charges dismissed. In the Matter of Stephens, 650 S.E.2d 849 (South Carolina 2007).

 

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for unreasonable delay in deciding 2 cases and failing to file required quarterly reports. Letter to Choate (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission September 19, 1997).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for calling the victim, the police officer, and the prosecuting attorney on behalf of a defendant who was involved in building the judge’s house and then presiding over the arraignment. Letter to Davis (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission September 19, 1997).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for voluntarily appearing as a character witness. Letter to Adams (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission September 19, 1997).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for calling the police after witnessing an individual run a stop sign, locating the driver with the police officer, directing the officer to issue a ticket for reckless driving, telling the individual that his driver’s license was suspended and he would be put in jail and not released until the court date if he was caught driving, and later presiding at the trial, convicting the individual, and fining him $100. Letter to Hayes (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission September 19, 1997).
  • Pursuant to the agreement of the judge, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge who, in a series of telephone calls to law enforcement agencies, had repeatedly invoked her judicial position to attempt to obtain the release from custody of a personal friend. Inquiry Concerning Austin, Decision and Order of Public Admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance September 23, 1997).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who, while a candidate, had mailed a brochure to voters that gave the unmistakable impression that he would favor tenants over landlords in housing matters. In the Matter of Birnbaum, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 1997).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who (1) had driven his automobile into a tree and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated; (2) had presided over an ex parte request for a temporary order of protection while under the influence of alcohol; and (3) had confronted 2 sheriffs’ officers and demanded to know why his son, the court officer assigned to his court, had been removed from the courthouse and stated, loudly and angrily, “How can you do this to me? Why are you doing this to me?  After all the support I’ve given you and your department, this is the way your deputies treat me.”  In the Matter of Purple, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 29, 1997).

 

Throwback Thursdays

25 years ago this month:

  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who drove while impaired by alcohol, tried to prevent his arrest because he was a judge, and threatened that the arresting office would “regret this” and should “watch out.” In the Matter of Winkworth, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 23, 1992).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who made anti-Arab statements to a defendant’s lawyer in an off-the-record conference in a robing room. In the Matter of Ain, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 21, 1992).
  • Pursuant to the stipulation of the judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who had stated on the record about a defendant on a traffic charge, “You don’t think Mr. Breckenridge drives around baiting officers do ya, just hoping to get stopped so he can get a little debate going. What it looks like to me.”  In re Clough, Stipulation and Agreement and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct September 4, 1992).