Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, the Arkansas Supreme Court removed a judge from office for his relationships with probationers; his involvement with Cycle Breakers, a probation program run through a non-profit corporation; ignoring and by-passing laws that were an impediment to his interest in Cycle Breakers; and enforcing payment of unauthorized “civil fees” from defendants with jail or the threat of jail, knowing the money would go to Cycle Breakers.  Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission v. Proctor, 360 S.W.3d 61 (Arkansas 2010).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance severely censured a judge for terminating and abandoning the trial in a dissolution of marriage matter before the husband had completed his case and without offering the parties an opportunity to present additional evidence; threatening the husband’s attorney with contempt if her client did not produce his statement of economic interests; failing to disqualify himself after reporting the husband’s failure to disclose an economic interest to the husband’s employer, which terminated him; and being discourteous and impatient toward the husband’s attorney and repeatedly threatening a mistrial if the proceedings were not concluded quickly enough.  Inquiry Concerning McBrien, Decision and Order (California Commission on Judicial Performance January 5, 2010).
  • In lieu of formal disciplinary proceedings and with the judge’s consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a commissioner for invoking his office and using profanity while protesting a parking ticket.  Public Admonition of Pierce (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications January 26, 2010).
  • Reviewing the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission based on a settlement agreement, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 21 days and publicly censured her for acting as treasurer for her own campaign and running for mayor while a judicial candidate and after being sworn in.  In re Sanders, 777 N.W.2d 134 (Michigan 2010).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, to which the judge consented, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 90 days and publicly censured him for driving while intoxicated.  In re Nebel, 777 N.W.2d 132 (Michigan 2010).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a municipal court judge who had been suspended from the practice of law for failing to pay annual fees and, therefore, had not been an attorney in good standing for 4 years as required for municipal court judges.  Letter to Harrison (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission January 24, 1995).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a municipal court judge who had been suspended from the practice of law for failing to pay annual fees and, therefore, had not been an attorney in good standing for 4 years as required for municipal court judges.  Letter to Adams (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission January 24, 1995).
  • Granting the petition of the Judicial Standards Commission, the New Mexico Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) harassing and interfering with a court administrator, refusing to obey legitimate orders of the chief judge; verbally abusing a deputy sheriff, using profanity, and being discourteous, undignified, and disrespectful; deliberately failing to devote the number of hours required of a district judge; treating a hearing officer with discourtesy and disrespect and acting without dignity; and (2) his relationship with a not-for-profit organization.  In the Matter of Castellano, 889 P.2d 175 (New Mexico 1995).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for dismissing a case based on ex parte communications, sua sponte, without hearing any witnesses, stating that he could not ignore the “cry . . . raised up in the community” about the plaintiff, and ordering the plaintiff not to file any further actions without the court’s permission.  In the Matter of Frati, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 20, 1995).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for giving inaccurate testimony in an attorney disciplinary proceeding against his law assistant.  In the Matter of Bloom, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct January 20, 1995).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for statements during her re-election campaign.  In the Matter of Segal, Order (Arizona Supreme Court December 11, 2014).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for driving while under the influence of alcohol.  Public Admonishment of Scott (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 30, 2014).
  • Based on a complaint by the Judicial Inquiry Board, which the judge admitted, the Illinois Court Commission reprimanded a judge for driving under the influence of alcohol.  In re Hettel, Order (Illinois Court Commission December 22, 2014).
  • Based on a statement of circumstances and conditional agreement for discipline, the Indiana Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for driving under the influence of alcohol, ordered that he submit his resignation effective December 31, 2014, and ordered that he be ineligible for future judicial service in Indiana unless/until he successfully completes a 2-year monitoring agreement and treatment plan approved by Indiana Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.  In the Matter of Weber, 21 N.E.3d 92 (Indiana 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission reprimanded a judge for unnecessary and undignified comments from the bench that were inconsistent with the presumption of innocence.  In re McLaughlin (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission December 29, 2014)
  • Accepting the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for (1) engaging in improper ex parte communications with counsel for a party regarding the judge’s disqualification and (2) taking an all-expenses-paid trip on a private jet to a hunting ranch with attorneys in a case shortly after the case was concluded.  In re Free, 158 So. 3d 771 (Louisiana 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s waiver, the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities released its private reprimand of a judge for delay.  In the Matter of Carr, Private reprimand (Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities December 16, 2014).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to disclose that a key prosecution witness in a disorderly conduct case was the daughter of the court clerk; permitting the court clerk to perform her duties in the case and to be in the courtroom during the trial; and, after convicting and sentencing the defendant, sending a letter to the county court judge hearing the appeal that contained legal arguments and facts outside the record.  In the Matter of Gumo, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 30, 2014).
  • The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for filing a complaint against an attorney with the Board of Professional Responsibility in retaliation for the complaint the attorney had filed with the Board of Judicial Conduct.  In re Donald, Opinion (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct December 15, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for intervening in a private dispute between a contractor and an electrician when no case was pending in his court and meeting with a witness and the parties to the dispute; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 2 hours of instruction with a mentor judge.  Public Reprimand of DeLaPaz and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 19, 2014).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for his demeanor and comments in a private meeting with 2 court administrators that could reasonably have been interpreted as threatening, intimidating, and/or retaliatory.  In re Goodwin, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 5, 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) a pattern of misuse of court resources for personal matters and (2) a letter to the sheriff about his concerns regarding the field training of his former courtroom bailiff.  Public Admonishment of Coates (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 2, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for disqualifying himself from cases in which parties were represented by law firms that included legislators to force the legislature to pass a judicial pay raise; encouraging other judges to do the same and denigrating judges who refused; making public comments concerning the pay raise litigation; and making denigrating comments about legislators.  In the Matter of Himelein, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and pleading guilty to driving while ability impaired and (2) presiding over 2 cases without disclosing her friendship with the complaining witness or the witness’ spouse.  In the Matter of Burke, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 15, 2009).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) refusing to accept a plea agreement and attempting to coerce a plea to additional charges because he wanted a disposition that would bring revenue to the village and making public comments about the case while it was pending on appeal and (2) nominating a candidate for village board of trustees at a political party caucus.  In the Matter of Herrmann, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 15, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for failing to deposit, report, and remit court funds within the time required by law and failing to issue duplicate receipts as required by law.  In the Matter of Ridgeway, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 15, 2009).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) issuing a citation affording a defendant less than 10 days to answer a suit and or appear for trial, failing to provide adequate notice of a trial to either party, and holding a second trial after a default judgment based on an oral request from the defendant; (2) trying to persuade another judge through her court staff to provide a favorable resolution for a litigant’s pending traffic citation; and (3) issuing a final judgment and a writ of execution for the return of property and issuing an amended judgment on his own motion, without notice to the parties and well after his court had lost jurisdiction; the Commission also ordered the judge to obtain 5 hours of instruction with a mentor.  Public Admonition of Perez and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 17, 2009).
  • The Utah Supreme Court approved the implementation of the Judicial Conduct Commission’s public reprimand of a judge who drew a gun in the courtroom.  In re Sampson, Order (Utah Supreme Court December 19, 2009).
  • Adopting the stipulation of facts and order of the Judicial Conduct Board with a modification, the Vermont Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days or until he resigns as a judge or as a member of the town select board, whichever occurs last.  In re Colby, 989 A.2d 553 (Vermont 2009).

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of the Judiciary removing a judge from office for (1) depositing a $23,000 personal check in the probate court account after examiners made a charge back, but, during the same transaction, withdrawing $23,000 from the official account and depositing it back into his personal account; (2) showing the slip indicating the deposit into the probate court account to the state examiner’s office to prove that he had paid the examiner’s charges; (3) negotiating and cashing 8 personal checks from court funds that were returned by his bank because he had insufficient funds in his account and failing to pay them for more than 3 years; (4) filing his 1996 state ethics form more than a year late; and (5) failing to properly administer his office.  Boggan v. Judicial Inquiry Commission, 759 So. 2d 550 (Alabama 1999).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Supreme Court suspended a judge for 18 months without pay for tampering with the official transcript in a case, repeated outbursts of temper, and shouting at a court clerk.  In the Matter of Flournoy, 990 P.2d 642 (Arizona 1999).
  • Pursuant to his consent, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly admonished a judge for granting an ex parte petition for change of custody without notice to the custodial parent and failing to communicate with the Florida judge who had assumed jurisdiction.  Public Admonition of Spencer (Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications December 28, 1999).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $3,000 for (1) abusing the contempt power and (2) illegally expunging 2 convictions.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Sanders, 749 So. 2d 1062 (Mississippi 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) a pattern of failing to advise defendants of constitutional and statutory rights; (2) engaging in ex parte communications with prosecutors outside the presence of the defense; (3) in 3 traffic cases, granting dismissals or adjournments in contemplation of dismissal without the knowledge and consent of prosecutors; and (4) eliciting from defendants who had pleaded not guilty statements concerning the charges against them or explanations of their pleas.  In the Matter of Pemrick, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 22, 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who had detained a defendant for 1 hour and 40 minutes without any basis or legal process.  In the Matter of Feinman, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 2, 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) on her own motion, subpoenaing a ranking officer in the sheriff’s department to appear in 3 cases even though he was not a witness because she was irritated that a member of the sheriff’s department had not appeared before her as scheduled and (2) wrote another judge asking that he grant youthful offender status to the son of a town employee, putting forth mitigating circumstances, and listing her court telephone.  In the Matter of Howard, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 22, 1999).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for comments at an arraignment and comments to a reporter that indicated a predisposition to believe the defendant and to disfavor the woman he was charged with assaulting.  In the Matter of Bender, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 21, 1999).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for making comments of an offensive sexual nature.  In re Ross, Stipulation, Agreement and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 3, 1999).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and the judge’s agreement to resign, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) having a court staff person check public information on the Judicial Information System computer for purposes that were not related to court business; (2) initiating contact with the media while a case was pending before him; (3) shouting and using profanities at a public defender in chambers in the presence of others; (4) on multiple occasions, signaling his staff to go off the record without informing both parties that he was doing so; and (5) directing court staff to delete specific court docket entries, leaving an incomplete docket record during the appeal period in a case.  In re Mittet, Stipulation, Agreement and Order of Censure (Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct December 3, 1999).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for his comments to a defendant who, he believed, had threatened his son during an exchange in a store and failing to disqualify from the case.  In re Edwards, Stipulation and agreement (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 29, 1999).

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for writing a character reference letter on his official court stationery for a personal friend who was awaiting sentencing in federal court.  Inquiry Concerning Fogan, 646 So. 2d 191 (Florida 1994).
  • Adopting the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Performance, based on an agreed statement of fact, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for attempting as an attorney to reduce bail that he had set while acting as a judge.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Atkinson, 645 So. 2d 1331 (Mississippi 1994).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) notarizing a signature and stating that the signatory had appeared before him even though the signatory had not done so; (2) directing that a prisoner held outside the county be returned to the county for a hearing when no case involving the prisoner was pending, no petition had been filed, and he had conducted no hearing; and (3) executing an instrument styled “authorization to remove personal property” when there was no related case pending before the court.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Hartzog, 646 So. 2d 1319 (Mississippi 1994).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to deposit court funds in his official account within 72 hours of receipt as required by statute and failing to properly supervise his court staff or take necessary steps to ensure that his staff timely deposited court funds.  In the Matter of Burton, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 1, 1994).
  • Pursuant to an agreed statement of facts, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for recommending 6 persons, including his wife and daughter, to attorneys to be used as process servers in civil actions in his court.  In the Matter of Ellis, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 1, 1994).
  • Agreeing with the findings and recommendations of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for touching a client while a lawyer and touching a clerk while a judge.  Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Talbert, 644 N.E.2d 310 (Ohio 1994).
  • Based on the report and recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, which the judge had accepted, the Rhode Island Supreme Court publicly censured a family court judge for making inappropriate comments in 5 cases; the Court also directed the chief judge of the family court to monitor the judge’s work load and the demeanor.  In re O’Brien, 650 A.2d 134 (Rhode Island 1994).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay until the end of his term for practicing law and serving as a fiduciary of an estate of someone other than a family member.  Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission v. Simes, 354 S.W.3d 72 (Arkansas 2009).
  • Approving the recommendation of the investigative panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for ordering that the victim in a domestic battery case be taken into custody.  Inquiry Concerning Bell, 23 So.3d 81 (Florida 2009).
  • Accepting a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for forming a relationship with a former defendant in her court who was a convicted felon with substance abuse problems and using her position to assist him.  Inquiry Concerning Henderson, 22 So. 3d 58 (Florida 2009).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $25,000 for a mailer distributed during her campaign that could be interpreted as an assertion that criminal defense attorneys were contributing to her opponent’s campaign to try to obtain her opponent’s favor and that, if re-elected, her opponent might favor such contributors and their clients on the bench.  Inquiry Concerning Baker (Florida Supreme Court November 5, 2009).
  • Adopting a stipulation and joint recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded a judge for driving while under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in an accident that damaged the other vehicle.  In re McGinnis, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 18, 2009).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission, the Louisiana Supreme Court removed a judge from office for failing to decide a case on the evidence and testimony presented at trial, allowing outside influences to dictate her decision, and failing to recuse despite her relationships with the plaintiff and his attorney and the ex parte attempts of another judge to influence her decision.  In re Benge, 24 So. 3d 822 (Louisiana 2009).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for using his judiciary e-mail account to communicate with his former law clerk about their romantic feelings even after the assignment judge advised him that it was inappropriate, making misleading statements to the Committee during its investigation, and making an unsolicited telephone call to the deputy public defender regarding his former law clerk’s interest in working for the office of law guardian.  In the Matter of DeBello, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court November 16, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a non-lawyer judge for (1) serious administrative errors in 11 traffic cases and (2) transferring 2 cases from his court, disqualifying both himself and his co-judge, without his co-judge’s knowledge or consent.  In the Matter of Engle, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 9, 2009).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a non-lawyer judge for (1) using his judicial power to effect the arrest of a motorist and then taking action in the case; (2) imposing a lenient disposition without disclosing an ex parte communication with the defendant’s mothers; (3) granting an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal without notice to or the consent of the prosecution; and (4) presiding over cases filed by members of the police department without disclosing his close friendship with the assistant chief of police.  In the Matter of Feeder, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 18, 2009).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for (1) misrepresenting in campaign literature that she had been endorsed by the New York Times; (2) campaign literature that displayed a pro-tenant bias; and (3) personally soliciting contributions during her campaign for judicial office.  In the Matter of Chan, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 17, 2009).
  • Accepting an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former judge for embezzling public funds.  In the Matter of Allen, 685 S.E.2d 612 (South Carolina 2009).
  • Based on a formal complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, the Virginia Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for thwarting circuit court review of her order that a juvenile be remanded to secure detention without bond, forcing the juvenile to remain in secure detention for 9 days before his writ of mandamus was granted.  Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission v. Taylor, 685 S.E.2d 51 (Virginia 2009).