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).

Throwback Thursday

20 year ago this month:

  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for ex parte communications with a defendant and an intemperate outburst in court.  Letter to Hall (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly admonished a judge for advising local law enforcement personnel concerning the validity of out-of-county court orders and adopting a policy that law enforcement officials could not execute out-of-county orders without his approval.  Letter to Harkey (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • The Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had paid for a car with a check for which his checking account did not have sufficient funds and who had pled nolo contendere to criminal charges relating to the check.  In the Matter of Steel, Final Decision and order (Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission November 22, 1999).
  • Adopting a joint stipulation and recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission publicly reprimanded a judge who had been charged with driving while intoxicated.  In re Gausselin, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 18, 1999).
  • Adopting a joint stipulation and recommendation, the Illinois Courts Commission suspended a judge for 3 months without pay for (1) criticizing a member of a jury for a not guilty verdict; (2) saying “f**k you” in court to an attorney; (3) withholding a payment voucher to retaliate against a court reporter because she signed a petition regarding him; and (4) on at least 5 occasions, using profanity in referring to other members of the judiciary.  In re Goshgarian, Order (Illinois Courts Commission November 18, 1999).
  • The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded a district court judge for making comments to a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a probation revocation pending before the district court.  Press release (Porter) (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards November 5, 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge who had engaged in offensive, undignified, and harassing conduct toward his personal secretary.  In the Matter of Shaw, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 8, 1999).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a judge for (1) failing for over 3 years to file reports and remit court funds to the state comptroller by the tenth of the month following collection as required by statute; (2) failing to issue receipts for fines, complete dockets, or report cases and remit court funds to the comptroller for the matters that he had handled; and (3) in a small claims case, sending a summons to the defendant that stated that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he did not appear in court in response to the claim.  In the Matter of Kosina, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 9, 1999).

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly reproved a judge who had a policy of issuing no-bail bench warrants for all defendants who failed to appear on misdemeanors, despite constitutional and penal code provisions giving individuals a right to bail before conviction with only limited exceptions.  Letter to Kanner (California Commission on Judicial Performance November 21, 1994).
  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for making sexist and racist remarks while performing her duties; using crude, profane, and inappropriate language when presiding over legal proceedings; and failing to diligently perform the duties of office.  Inquiry Concerning Golden, 645 So. 2d 970 (Florida 1994).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 15 days without pay and fined him $1000 for dismissing a burglary case based on ex parte representations by a defendant and his aunt that the complainant wanted to drop the charge; when the complainant executed a second affidavit for the same offense, going with the defendant to the complainant’s place of employment and telling her there would be a hearing the next day at 11:00 a.m.; and at the hearing, without a prosecutor present, finding there was no probable cause to hold the defendant and dismissing the charge.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Peyton, 645 So. 2d 954 (Mississippi 1994).
  • The New Jersey Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 6 months for, over the objections of defense counsel, permitting the city’s mayor to make a speech that was political and prejudicial to the defendants who were charged with multiple housing violations.  In the Matter of Fenster, 649 A.2d 393 (New Jersey 1994).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Judicial Hearing Board, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly admonished a judge who had entered a polling place while the polls were still open and where he was not registered to vote, which violated a state statute.  In the Matter Harshbarger, 450 S.E.2d 667 (West Virginia 1994).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a judge and fined her $500 for refusing to assist a woman seeking a protective order, then returning to her office to do paperwork, and later, agreeing to assist someone else.  In the Matter of Browning, 452 S.E. 2d 34 (West Virginia 1994).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals publicly reprimanded a judge for presiding over a case in which one of the parties was represented by an attorney with whom the judge equally owned all the shares of a corporation that owned 106 acres of land, on which the judge and his family lived and for which he paid no rent.  In the Matter of Means, 452 S.E.2d 696 (West Virginia 1994).

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • Approving a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) her conduct and demeanor in injunction, juvenile, and dependency cases; (2) ruling in a way that made it appear she did not know the law or refused to apply it; and (3) appearing on behalf of her sister at her sister’s first appearance after an arrest.  Inquiry Concerning Kautz, 149 So. 3d 681 (Florida 2014).
  • The Florida Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) operating a for-profit business from her judicial chambers using official time and judicial resources; offering to sell the business’s products in the courthouse to lawyers who appeared before her and courthouse employees; promoting the sale of the products on a web-site that included photographs of her in her judicial robes; and using her judicial assistant to promote and produce the products during working hours; (2) devoting less than full time to her judicial duties; (3) failing to pay state sales tax on the sale of her business products and to register the name of her business under the fictitious name law; and (4) demonstrating a lack of candor during the investigation.  Inquiry Concerning Hawkins, 151 So. 3d 1200 (Florida 2014).
  • The Louisiana Supreme Court suspended a judge without pay for 12 months for failing to file her annual financial statements for 3 years, with 6 months deferred conditioned on her filing the statements within 3 months.  In re Myers, 156 So. 3d 11 (Louisiana 2014).
  • Approving an agreement for discipline by consent, the Maryland Court of Appeals suspended a judge for 30 days for (1) mocking and ridiculing a criminal defendant and his fiancé in a probation violation hearing and (2) being dismissive, disrespectful, and intemperate toward defense counsel during 2 post-conviction hearings; the Court stayed 25 days of the suspension if the judge successfully completes a 2-year probation.  In the Matter of Mays, Consent order (Maryland Court of Appeals October 21, 2014).
  • Granting a petition to accept a stipulation agreement, the New Mexico Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for calling a magistrate judge to vouch for the character of a defendant in a case and to obtain special treatment for the defendant; the Court also ordered the judge to participate in a formal mentorship and to be on unsupervised probation for 1 year.  In the Matter of Ramos, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court October 14, 2014).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to appoint an interpreter for a Spanish-speaking tenant in a summary eviction.  In the Matter of Merino, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 2, 2014).
  • The Ohio Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for wearing a name badge identifying herself as “Colleen Mary O’Toole, Judge, 11th District Court of Appeals” while she was a judicial candidate and not an incumbent.  In re Judicial Campaign Complaint Against O’Toole, 24 N.E.3d 1114 (Ohio 2014).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge who had been convicted of 12 felonies in federal court based on his participation in the infamous “kids-for-cash scheme,” including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, honest services mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and filing a materially false tax return.  In re Ciavarella, 108 A.3d 983 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2014).
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed without an opinion the decision of the Court of Judicial Discipline removing a judge for (1) lying repeatedly on the questionnaires he submitted to the Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention while running for judicial office and (2) twice being held in contempt in a court case arising from a Philadelphia Board of Ethics complaint against a PAC he represented and, to avoid paying a court-ordered fine, dissipating the PAC’s funds and engaging in delay, obfuscation, and deceit.  In re Nocella, 102 A.3d 422 (Pennsylvania 2014), affirming, Opinion (June 26, 2013) and Sanction order (Court of Judicial Discipline August 5, 2013).
  • Based on an agreement for discipline by consent, the South Carolina Supreme Court reprimanded a judge for identifying herself as a judge in a call and letters to the magistrate assigned to her grandson’s case.  In the Matter of Johnson, 763 S.E.2d 812 (South Carolina 2014).
  • Pursuant to the judge’s agreement, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for telling a commissioner that a 12-hour hold should not have been placed on a defendant in a domestic violence case.  Moreland (Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct October 22, 2014).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) retaliating against 4 attorneys; (2) practicing law on behalf of his girlfriend, misusing government resources to do so, and injecting himself into litigation involving her children; (3) failing to disclose or to recuse from cases involving those with whom he had a close, personal relationship; and (4) lying under oath, engaging in witness tampering, and harassing, bullying, and maligning county officials, including 3 judges.  Public Reprimand of Dupuy (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 23, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and twice gratuitously identifying herself as a judge to the arresting officer.  In re Hitchcock (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2014).
  • Based on a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge for failing to timely decide 3 matters.  In re Sullivan (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2014).
  • The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals suspended a judge without pay until the end of her term (December 2016) and censured her for having an extra-marital relationship with the director of the community corrections program and related misconduct.  In the Matter of Wilfong, 765 S.E.2d 283  (West Virginia 2014).

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for being argumentative in a case, rarely allowing the complainants to respond, and aggressively cutting them off while stating what he predicted their testimony would be.  Fletcher, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct October 8, 2009).
  • Adopting the findings and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which the judge accepted, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a retired judge for promoting a plea deal in an ex parte conversation with a defendant’s brother.  In the Matter of Delehey, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court October 6, 2009).