Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Based on a conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of Felts, 902 N.E.2d 255 (Indiana 2009).
  • The Indiana Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 60 days without pay for excessive delays in ruling on prisoners’ petitions for post-conviction relief, which resulted in 1 prisoner being incarcerated for nearly 2 years longer than necessary, and for delay in reporting to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and providing incomplete and inaccurate information to the Commission. In the Matter of Hawkins, 902 N.E.2d 231 (Indiana 2009).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge, for, in a summary eviction matter, visiting the office of an attorney who represented the defendant in a related matter, questioning the attorney’s secretary about the defendant’s finances, and, based on the information, ruling against the defendant and issuing an order of eviction. In the Matter of Bishop, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 2009).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for permitting 6 defendants charged with speeding to plead guilty to a reduced charge without the consent of the prosecutor. In the Matter of Schurr, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 23, 2009).
  • Based on a referee’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, to which the judge stipulated, and a joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for, while a part-time judge (1) arranging to have charges against his client filed in a court that did not have jurisdiction to circumvent the prohibition against practicing law in his own court; (2) failing to disqualify himself in a case notwithstanding that he had previously represented the complaining witness and holding the defendant in summary contempt without complying with proper procedures; and (3) representing defendants in 3 cases that had originated in his court. In the Matter of Aison, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 26, 2009).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court permanently disbarred a judge who burned down his house to defraud an insurance company for which he had been found guilty on 2 federal counts of mail fraud, 1 count of use of fire to commit mail fraud, 1 count of conspiracy to use fire to commit mail fraud, and 2 counts of money laundering. Disciplinary Counsel v. McAuliffe, 903 N.E.2d 1209 (Ohio 2009).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a justice of the peace for facilitating and permitting the paddling of juveniles in his courtroom. Public Warning of Garza (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 9, 2009).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a justice of the peace for failing to provide notice to the plaintiff in a small claims case or to hold a hearing before ruling on the defendant’s untimely motion to set aside a default judgment; setting the case for trial without expressly granting or denying the defendant’s motion; conducting the trial after the court had lost jurisdiction; entering a second judgment in the case after the default judgment in favor of the plaintiff became final; and preventing the plaintiff from testifying about the car wreck or the damage to her vehicle. Public Warning of Torres and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 9, 2009).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for presiding over a small claims case involving a defendant who had filed a complaint against him that resulted in a letter of reprimand from the Professional Conduct Committee in 1982. Letter to Judge Hall (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission March 15, 1999).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for (1), after witnessing an apparent larceny, directing a police officer to issue a citation for the infraction and presiding at the trial and (2) using chewing tobacco during court proceedings. Letter to Inboden (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission March 15, 1999).
  • Approving an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Commission publicly admonished a judge for participating in cases in which her brother-in-law, his wife, and his daughter were parties or complaining witnesses and in cases involving an altercation between her brother-in-law and his wife, which the judge had personal knowledge of. In the Matter of Remchuk, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 29, 1999).
  • Accepting the determination of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the New York Court of Appeals removed a judge for intemperate demeanor, biased behavior against victims of domestic violence, disregard of the law, and offering to use his influence with the town board to reward the police chief if the police instigated a criminal complaint for the benefit of a friend and client of his private practice.  In the Matter of Romano, 712 N.E.2d 1216 (New York 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making a series of public comments on a case that had been remanded to him. In the Matter of O’Brien, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 4, 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for “gross neglect” of court record-keeping. In the Matter of Gregory, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 23, 1999).
  • Reviewing a judicial conduct panel’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation based on the complaint of the Judicial Commission, the Wisconsin Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for holding 2 offices of public trust ‑‑ municipal judge and school board member ‑‑ at the same time. In the Matter of Stern, 589 N.W.2d 407 (Wisconsin 1999).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Affirming the order of the Judicial Retirement and Removal Commission, the Kentucky Supreme Court publicly censured a former judicial candidate for campaign advertisements that stated: “Jed Deters is a Pro-Life Candidate.”  Deters v. Judicial Retirement and Removal Commission, 873 S.W.2d 200 (Kentucky 1994).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for driving while intoxicated and losing control of the car; when asked his name by a police office, giving his name and judicial office; and asking the officer, “Isn’t there anything we can do?” In the Matter of Henderson, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for failing to remit court funds promptly to the state comptroller as required by statute; failing to respond to 4 letters from Commission counsel and failing to appear to testify; and failing to make deposits to his official court account for almost 6 months even though a statute required deposits within 72 hours of receipt. In the Matter of Giffin, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 1994).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for stating to a jury after it had rendered a guilty verdict: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very happy that you reached that disposition because the Dominican people are just killing us in the courts” and making similar comments.  In the Matter of Cunningham, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 18, 1994).
  • Reviewing the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, the Oregon Supreme Court suspended a judge for 45 days without pay for (1) refusing to recuse himself in several cases involving an attorney who had filed a complaint with the Commission that the judge publicized with his opinion of the attorney; (2) meeting privately with the district attorney, at the judge’s initiation, on the general subject of his disqualification in several cases with a specific reference to a case in which a disqualification motion was pending; and (3) writing a letter to the editor and a guest editorial published in a local paper that criticized the district attorney. In re Schenck, 870 P.2d 185 (Oregon 1994).
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court removed a judge from office for failing to recuse from 33 cases involving parties who had loaned the judge or her family money and with whom she had a close personal relationship. Pekarski v. Judicial Inquiry and Review Board, 639 A.2d 759 (Pennsylvania 1994).
  • Affirming the recommendation of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Review Tribunal appointed by Texas Supreme Court removed a judge from office for conspiring to extort money from a probationer, altering conditions of probation ex parte, and granting credit for time served in excess of time actually served. In re Thoma, 873 S.W.2d 477 (Texas Special Court of Review 1994).
  • The Vermont Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former, non-lawyer judge for had, while a judge, purchasing a paid political advertisement in a newspaper that supported candidates for national, state-wide, and local offices. In re Steady, 641 A.2d 117 (Vermont 1994).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a court commissioner for hearing testimony in a child support case from the mother at a hearing when the father was not present because he had a medical emergency, ordering the father to pay a purge amount by a specified date, issuing an arrest warrant for the father when he failed to pay the purge amount, and providing specious and incomplete responses during the Commission investigation. Morton, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 3, 2014).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former court commissioner for operating a vehicle while under the influence. Madden, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct February 12, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulated resolution in which the judge agreed to resign, the Colorado Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for inappropriate jokes and comments in the course of his duties and ex parte communications. In the Matter of Rand, 332 P.3d 115 (Colorado 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 admonished a judge for using his judicial stationery when communicating with school officials in an effort to secure funding for a summer camp for the son of the woman with whom he was in a relationship. In the Matter of Isabella (New Jersey Supreme Court February 19, 2014).  The Court’s order does not describe the judge’s misconduct; this summary is based on the Committee’s presentment.
  • Adopting the findings of fact of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the North Dakota Supreme Court suspended a judge for 1 month without pay for failing to diligently and promptly decide judicial matters assigned to him. In the Matter of Hagar, 842 N.W.2d 873 (North Dakota 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for encouraging defendants at an arraignment to enter a guilty plea that afternoon, promising a specific outcome, and failing to require written plea forms when 12 defendants accepted her offer. In re Seitz, Stipulation, Agreement, and Order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 24, 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a judge for using disparaging speech to refer to a defendant in court and then asking the courtroom gallery to weigh in on his own conduct and that of the defendant. Press Release (Spicer) (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards February 5, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for repeatedly using her secretary for personal, non-governmental purposes and directing her secretary to check a confidential family court database for information about a defendant based on an ex parte request by her husband, an assistant district attorney. In the Matter of Ruhlmann, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 9, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a part-time judge who (1) had significant delays in disposing of criminal cases attributable in large part to his failure to properly administer the court and supervise court staff, resulting in misplaced files, poor record-keeping, and poor case management; (2) in 6 cases, delayed reporting final dispositions to the state comptroller for from 8 months to 3 and a half years; and (3) failed to disqualify himself from a case in which the defendant was a friend and schoolmate of his daughter. In the Matter of O’Donnell, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 5, 2009).
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended the license of a former judge for misappropriating funds from a humane society and impermissibly practicing law while a domestic relations court magistrate. Disciplinary Counsel v. Kelly, 901 N.E.2d 798 (Ohio 2009).
  • Based on the recommendation of a panel of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for failing to meet continuing legal education obligations, to timely file the required annual CLE reports, and to petition the court for reinstatement following his suspension before resuming his judicial duties. In the Matter of Hall, 673 S.E.2d 429 (South Carolina 2009).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly warned a judge for failing to conduct a trial prior to finding a traffic defendant guilty, changing the defendant’s plea from “not guilty” to “guilty,” and failing to enter a written judgment reflecting the decision in the case. Public Warning of James (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 12, 2009).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to an agreement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for committing fraud during settlement negotiations in a suit in which he was party. Inquiry Concerning Blackwell, Decision & Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 23, 1999).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for denying due process in a civil trial, argumentative questioning of a minor in a contempt proceeding, and labeling a lawyer “unethical and dishonest.” Inquiry Concerning Broadman, Decision & Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 26, 1999).
  • Affirming the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for mishandling an appeal before becoming a judge, back-dating the certificate of service on a brief, making serious and substantial falsehoods in a deposition she gave in the malpractice suit arising out of her mishandling of the appeal, overcharging her client and misrepresenting to her client how much work she performed on the appeal, depositing some of the cash payments from the client into her own operating account and spending the money rather than depositing it into a trust account, and failing to advise parties when an attorney who was representing her in the pending, personal civil litigation appeared before her. In re Ford-Kaus, 730 So. 2d 269 (Florida 1999).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court privately reprimanded a judge for inappropriately remarking to a deputy clerk that he noticed that she checked out men. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Justice Court Judge R.R., 732 So. 2d 224 (Mississippi 1999).
  • Pursuant to the presentment filed by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a retired judge for driving while intoxicated. In the Matter of D’Ambrosio, 723 A.2d 943 (New Jersey February 1999).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the findings of fact and legal conclusions of the Judicial Conduct Commission, the Arizona Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) reinstating charges brought by 2 of his friends against his election opponent and issuing a summons requiring the opponent to appear in his court; (2) after a private meeting with a defendant’s family and employer, telling the investigating police officer that he had strong reason to believe this was a case of mistaken identity; (3) issuing a criminal complaint against the wife of a married couple who owed him about $300 in unpaid rent, plus damages for breaching a lease for office space in a building owned by the judge; and (4) presiding over a landlord-tenant dispute in which the defendant had previously filed a criminal complaint against the judge, accusing him of fraudulently registering to vote in violation of state law. In re Peck, 867 P.2d 853 (Arizona 1994).
  • In a letter, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly reproved a judge for making improper and offensive remarks while presiding in cases and for abusive and demeaning language and behavior toward court staff. Letter to Judge Stevens (California Commission on Judicial Performance February 14, 1994).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge who sent a letter on his official court stationery to a federal judge as a character witness and reference on behalf of a defendant who had pled guilty in federal court. Inquiry Concerning Abel, 632 So. 2d 600 (Florida 1994).
  • Adopting the findings and conclusions of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and ordered him suspended for 90 days without pay for (1) failing to process or dispose of citations filed by certain rangers of the Game and Fish Division of the state Department of Natural Resources; (2) stating that there were too many laws dealing with fish and game violations, that he did not agree with those laws, that he could not stand a particular DNR officer, and that he was not accountable to anyone; (3) dismissing citations without hearing evidence; (4) stating that he would not accept cases initiated by a particular DNR ranger; and (5) failing to forthrightly address the charges filed by the Commission. Inquiry Concerning Cannon, 440 S.E.2d 169 (Georgia 1994).