Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a stipulation, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to decide 32 cases for from 1 to 2 years and to decide 14 other cases for from 2 to nearly 3 years, inaccurately and/or delinquently reporting 34 cases taken under advisement, and completely failing to report the undecided status of 7 cases. In re Wimbish, 733 So.2d 1183 (Louisiana 1999).
  • Pursuant to the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission based on a stipulation, the Louisiana Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for (1) maintaining a policy and practice of intentionally refusing to set status conferences or issue scheduling orders, (2) failing and/or refusing to timely sign ex parte orders, (3) 1‑year delays in deciding 2 cases, and (4) failing to report 1 case as under advisement. In re Emanuel, 755 So. 2d 862 (Louisiana 1999).
  • Agreeing with the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $1,500 for, contrary to the law, accepting plea bargains that reduced DUI second offense charges to DUI first offense in 3 cases and reduced DUI charges to disorderly conduct in 1 case. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Jones, 735 So. 2d 385 (Mississippi 1999).
  • Approving a statement of agreed facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for circumventing normal procedures in appointing guardians, appointing 2 lawyers as law guardians in a disproportionate number of cases, and failing to scrutinize their bills. In the Matter of Ray, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 26, 1999) (http://cjc.ny.gov/Determinations/R/Ray.Herbert.B.1999.04.26.DET.pdf).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for speaking at governmental meetings and before a planning commission on behalf of real estate partnerships in which he owned an interest. Ohio State Bar Association v. Reid, 708 N.E.2d 193 (Ohio 1999).
  • Adopting the recommendation of a judicial conduct panel, the Wisconsin Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for stating, “I suppose it was too much to ask that your daughter keep her pants on and not behave like a slut” when a woman explained she had not been able to pay her fines because she was caring for her daughter’s children and making statements in his letter of apology that manifested a bias based on socioeconomic status. In the Matter of Michelson, 591 N.W.2d 843 (Wisconsin 1999).

Throwback Thursdays

25 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly reproved a judge for stating to a public defender of Japanese-American ancestry: “Do you have something to add to those papers which isn’t in there, some brilliant case you found somewhere in the Upper Tokyo Reports or somewhere that nobody knows about, tell me about it.  Otherwise there is no need to argue over what you already have.”  Letter to Haugner (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 11, 1994).
  • Adopting a stipulation and the recommendation of the Board on Judicial Standards, the Minnesota Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and suspended him for 60 days without pay for (1) on multiple occasions over several years, responding in an angry and undignified manner to staff members who were innocent of any significant dereliction of duty; (2) ignoring staff members whom he had invited into his chambers, to their evident discomfort; and (3) harshly and without justification criticizing the work of his law clerks. In re Rice, 515 N.W.2d 53 (Minnesota 1994).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement with the judge, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for engaging in a casual and cordial conversation in the courtroom with one of the parties in a case that the other party observed, while the attorneys for both parties were discussing settlement outside the courtroom. In re Slusher, Stipulation and Agreement and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 1, 1994).
  • Agreeing with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Washington Supreme Court removed a judge from office for filing travel vouchers for 4 out-of-state trips on which he conducted minimal judicial business that was wholly incidental to the personal nature of the trips and seeking reimbursement for car and lodging expenses that went beyond that needed for judicial activities. In re Ritchie, 870 P.2d 967 (Washington 1994).
  • Adopting the findings of fact and conclusions of a 3-judge panel based on a stipulation, the Wisconsin Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 15 days without pay for failing to decide 2 cases for more than 1 year, filing certificates of pending case status for 6 months that falsely reported that he had no cases pending beyond the prescribed period, misrepresenting to the deputy chief judge that 2 decisions had not been entered because a clerk had failed to type them, and making the same misrepresentation to a Commission investigator. In the Matter of Dreyfus, 513 N.W.2d 604 (Wisconsin 1994).

 

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for imposing unauthorized fees on criminal defendants who changed their pleas from not guilty to guilty. Letter of Admonishment to Blackman (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission March 21, 2014).
  • The Indiana Supreme Court removed a judge for (1) failing to maintain court files and records in a manner that allowed access; (2) failing to complete paperwork necessary to effectuate court decisions, delaying many rulings, failing to rule promptly on motions to continue court settings, continuing bench trials if she believed the trials could not be completed by 4:00 p.m., and unnecessarily continuing several trials; (3) delaying the release of 10 defendants from jail for 1 to 22 days by failing to complete paperwork or to supervise court staff to ensure that paperwork was correctly filled out and errors were caught; (4) failing to cooperate with the court’s executive committee to address the issues that led to the delayed releases; (5) treating some attorneys, particularly public defenders, rudely and discourteously; (6) making derogatory and inappropriate remarks to court employees, treating court employees discourteously and with hostility, and favoring some court employees over others; and (7) retaliating when she thought court staff had complained to or cooperated with the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. In the Matter of Brown, 4 N.E.3d 619 (Indiana 2014).
  • Based on the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Michigan Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) engaging in a sexual relationship with a complaining witness in a case pending before him without recusing himself from her case and numerous ex parte communications with her about the case; (2) ex parte communications with her about another case in which one of her relatives was a party; (3) permitting his mistress to enter the facility through an employee entrance without going through security, allowing her to remain alone in his chambers while he was on the bench, arranging for her to park in an area reserved for judges, and sneaking her cell phone into the courthouse for her; (4) when their relationship went sour, concocting stalking and extortion charges and seeking to use the prosecuting attorney’s office as leverage against her; and (5) lying under oath during the Commission proceedings. In re McCree, 845 N.W.2d 458 (Michigan 2014).
  • Based on a settlement agreement and the Judicial Tenure Commission’s decision and recommendation, the Michigan Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for, based only on unsworn conversations with court staff, commencing indirect contempt proceedings against a litigant who had a confrontation with court staff and, after the commencement of proceedings, directing staff to provide information to the prosecuting attorney and to prepare affidavits without advising the litigant’s counsel of the communications. In re Wiley, 844 N.W.2d 1 (Michigan 2014).
  • The North Dakota Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 1 month without pay for conduct toward his court reporter that could reasonably be perceived as sexual harassment. In the Matter of Corwin, 843 N.W.2d 830 (North Dakota 2014).

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).