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).

Recent cases

  • Following a hearing on a complaint filed by the Judicial Inquiry Board, the Illinois Courts Commission removed a judge from office for (1) making false and misleading statements to detectives investigating the discharge of a firearm in his apartment; (2) retaliating against 2 employees who filed sexual harassment allegations against him; and (3) during the disciplinary proceedings, providing testimony that contained misrepresentations, omissions, and deceptions.  In re O’Shea, Order (Illinois Courts Commission September 27, 2019).
  • Accepting an agreed statement of facts and recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for presiding over more than 2,500 civil matters involving a credit union for which his brother was an officer and board member.  In the Matter of DiMillo, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 1, 2019).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct removed a part-time judge for, in a series of emails to his clients in a family court matter, repeatedly denigrating in profane, vulgar, and sexist terms his clients’ daughter and her former husband, opposing counsel, the referee in the case, and school officials.  In the Matter of Senzer, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 9, 2019). The judge has requested review.
  • Based on a stipulation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a judge who, during a civil trial, threatened to file a professional grievance against the defendant’s attorney for making an offensive remark during his summation unless his client immediately offered to settle the case for $25,000.  In the Matter of Edwards, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 23, 2019).
  • Agreeing with the findings and recommendation of the Board of Professional Conduct, the Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended a former judge from the practice of law for (1) sexual misconduct, including sexually harassing his secretary and an intern; (2) misusing county resources and staff in his campaign for the court of appeals; and (3) his guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of failing to file accurate campaign statements.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Horton (Ohio Supreme Court October 10, 2019)
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a former judge for (1) his conduct toward court clerks, including violations of the court policy prohibiting harassment in the workplace; (2) his demeanor towards lawyers, litigants, and police officers; (3) his treatment of 2 constables; and (4) his conduct toward witnesses for the Judicial Conduct Board.  In re Hladio, Opinion (March 25, 2019), Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline October 4, 2019).
  • Based on a stipulated record, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline publicly reprimanded a judge for, during his re-election campaign, publicly confronting 3 people who supported his opponent and yelling at them, insulting them, and threatening them; the Court also placed him on probation for 1 year with the condition that he submit to a psychological assessment.  In re Maruszczak, Opinion (January 9, 2019), Opinion (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline October 4, 2019).
  • Agreeing with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, a Texas Special Court of Review publicly admonished a judge for authorizing the use of his name, title, and likeness on materials supporting a candidate for director of an electric cooperative.  In re Oakley, Opinion (Texas Special Court of Review October 25, 2019).
  • The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for failing for 15 months to enter an order on competing motions to confirm or vacate an arbitration award, communicating ex parte with counsel and then temporarily staying a valid writ of execution based on concerns about its execution during a doctor’s office hours, and failing to respond to a letter of inquiry from the Commission.  Public Reprimand of Slaughter (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 11, 2019).

 

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).

Not “a normal working environment”

Stating that it took seriously its responsibility for setting precedent concerning sexual harassment, “to protect the public by sending a strong message to members of the judiciary that abusing the trust of public employees and the public at large will result in significant consequences,” the Ohio Supreme Court recently suspended a former judge indefinitely from the practice of law for his predatory sexual conduct and other misconduct.  Disciplinary Counsel v. Horton (Ohio Supreme Court October 10, 2019).  The Court did note that “an indefinite suspension may not be appropriate in all cases of sexual misconduct or harassment” but that it was appropriate “given the number of other violations, the harm to individual victims and to the public trust, the significant number of aggravating factors, and the limited mitigating evidence.”

The judge had served on the Court of Common Pleas from 2006 until he joined the 10th District Court of Appeals in 2015.  He resigned effective February 28, 2019.

The Court found that the judge, while on the trial court, “created an inappropriate atmosphere in his office by telling members of his staff they were sexy during the work day and commenting on the attractiveness of other employees.”  For example, he told M.B., a law student intern, that he had asked her to attend a meeting so that he would have “something pretty to look at.”  Several members of his staff believed they could not turn down the judge’s frequent invitations to go out for happy hour at bars when, he admitted, his behavior “was ‘rude’ and ‘obnoxious.’”  The Court found that the judge’s “conduct was beyond rude.”  For example, he told Emily Vincent, his staff attorney, that her tights were sexy and that he would get in trouble for telling her how he would make her over.

The Court also found that the judge’s behavior with M.B., who was 23 years old at the time, and his secretary Elise Wyant, who was 25, “was even worse.”

Following one happy hour, after M.B. had completed her internship, but while she was still a law student, she and Horton engaged in sexual conduct. . . .  On three other occasions, Horton encouraged his friends to touch M.B. inappropriately, and she was groped by his friends on at least two occasions, at Horton’s insistence.  Horton also repeatedly told Wyant that she “looked sexy” and that he wanted to “f**k” her.

M.B. described feeling as though the judge was grooming her.

Wyant admitted that she had joked with the judge and engaged in explicit sexual conversations with him.  When asked why, Wyant explained that was “the culture that he created in the office.”

“He would talk about things that—that he wanted to talk about, and so when, you know, I was talking about my personal life I took the direction from my leader and, you know, I would get personal with my stories, too.”

She described how she “came to realize that this—through conversations with friends and—like, this wasn’t normal, this wasn’t a—a normal working environment.  This culture that he created wasn’t a good one and it wasn’t professional at all.”

When M.B. was asked why she had consented to sexual conduct with the judge even though she did not want to, she explained:  “I felt like I had to do what Judge Horton wanted me to do.  And, you know, I think at the time, 23 at this point, like, I was naive, certainly, but I also think I was just doing the best that I could, you know.”  M.B. further explained:

[T]his is a person who has power over me and I have to go along with what he says.  And I don’t know, like, why I still trusted him, and thought, you know, it would be different, perhaps.  I still saw him as a mentor, which sounds ridiculous after he’s done these horrible things to me; right? . . .  It occurred so incrementally that you almost didn’t see it coming, you know, like you didn’t realize how bad the situation you were in until it was too late to do anything about it, you know.  And I—I think there was also, like, a lot of self-blame involved of, you know, it must be—it must be my fault because, like, he’s—he’s turned me into this sexual object, and so, like, this is just what I know and this is how it works, you know.

Rejecting the judge’s argument that Wyant and M.B. had consented to his sexual conduct and statements, the Court explained:

Even if Horton’s sexual misconduct was not criminal or did not create civil liability, the Code of Judicial Conduct does not merely proscribe crimes or discrimination—it recognizes the power and authority of judges and sets a higher standard.  It also does not police the conduct of judicial employees.  The Code of Judicial Conduct is specifically concerned with the actions of judges.  The issue is not whether Wyant objected to each of Horton’s inappropriate statements or acquiesced to the inappropriate culture Horton created at his office or if M.B. implicitly consented to his sexual conduct.  Horton engaged in sexual harassment in the performance of his judicial duties, abused the prestige of his office for his own personal interests, and acted in a manner that brings disrepute to the judiciary.

As a judge and a supervisor, Horton held a position of power over his staff and interns.  He repeatedly emphasized his power and the importance of loyalty to him.  And it seems to be no coincidence that Horton’s most egregious behavior occurred with and around the younger, less professionally experienced members of his staff who he could more easily manipulate.

Continuing to emphasize a judge’s responsibilities, the Court rejected the judge attempt to blame his staff for working on his campaign for the Court of Appeals during work hours and at public expense, using county resources.  The judge admitted that he had told his staff, “If you want to work on [the campaign], you want to volunteer, that’s great, you know I would appreciate it.”  Although the judge phrased the statement as an invitation and not a directive, his secretary and staff attorney testified that they did not feel comfortable not volunteering for his campaign.  His staff also testified that the judge asked them to conduct campaign business during hours when they would normally be performing county work.

The Court blamed the judge’s “decision not to keep a closer eye on his employees’ time or to create a stronger ethic of professionalism in the office,” noting that “the employees’ culpability is not at issue.”  The Court explained:

If a sitting judge chooses to allow public employees to volunteer to work on his or her campaign, it is incumbent upon the judge to uphold the integrity of the judiciary by imposing clear rules prohibiting campaign work on county time or using county resources and strictly enforcing those rules.  If a judge does not feel confident about his or her ability to make and enforce such rules, then the judge should not accept assistance from public employees.

The judge had also pled guilty in state court to 3 counts of causing inaccurate campaign finance reports to be filed with the secretary of state, admitting that he had reported expenditures that he knew were excessive and unreasonable.

Bad faith de-escalation

Judicial conduct commissions and supreme courts do not usually second-guess a judge’s decision to hold someone in contempt, but there are exceptions to that rule, and a judge was recently censured for having a mother involved in a visitation dispute handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom without an opportunity to be heard or any contemptuous behavior in the courtroom.  In re Foster (North Carolina Supreme Court September 27, 2019).  The North Carolina Supreme Court adopted the findings of the Judicial Standards Commission, which were based on a stipulation and agreement for a stated disposition.

The judge presided over a hearing to determine whether the mother of 15-year-old twin sons should be held in contempt after the twins, who reside with their mother, refused to visit their father during the winter holiday.  The mother’s counsel objected because the mother had not received sufficient notice of the hearing.  The judge acknowledged the objection but ordered the mother and the twins to appear in court within 30 minutes, stating:  “I’m not saying that we’re going through with the hearing, but you need to call your client and tell her to get here because I have a few choice words that I need to say to her . . . .”  The judge added that “the boys need to come . . . so that they can hear that their mother can go to jail for their behavior” and “if a child wants their parent to go to jail, I got a problem with that as well.”

When they arrived, the judge asked the 2 boys whether they understood that their mother could be incarcerated if they continued to resist visitation with their father.  After the boys told the judge that they would rather have their mother go to jail than visit with their father, the judge stated:  “my children would never allow me to go to jail for any reason whatsoever . . .  I’m appalled because my children respect me so much they would never allow that to happen.”  After the boys said that they understood the consequences of their refusal, the judge ordered the bailiff to handcuff their mother and place her in a holding cell.  The mother’s counsel objected because the judge had not held a contempt hearing or given his client an opportunity to be heard.  Nevertheless, the judge instructed the bailiff to take the mother out of the courtroom.

After the mother was removed, the judge told the twins that she was “appalled” at their behavior and that they should be “ashamed” for allowing their mother to go to jail.  The judge also shared personal stories about being a parent and “disturbing cases she had presided over where children had suffered unfortunate outcomes.”  She asked the twins whether it made more sense to spend 6 days visiting their father as originally ordered, or 60 days with him while their mother was incarcerated.  The boys relented and agreed to visit their father.

The judge had the mother brought back into the courtroom and then said “as far as your full-blown hearing, it is going to be continued.  You two need to pick a date because I do not believe that you [had] enough time to truly prepare.”  Both parties thanked the judge for trying to resolve the boys’ refusal to visit with their father.

The judge believed that her actions “were appropriate to deescalate an unfortunate situation and resolve the visitation issues without further involving the Court.”  Her conduct in the case reflected her practice of placing litigants in temporary custody for “a short ‘cooling-off period’ without an opportunity to be heard,” which she had found successful in getting litigants to comply with her directives.

The Commission emphasized that it was not reviewing the legal issue whether the judge may have properly held the mother in contempt.  The Commission noted that the judge had specifically intended to avoid a “full-blown hearing,” which she admitted she could not hold because of inadequate notice.  The Court concluded that the judge’s actions were “not a mere ‘error of judgment or mere lack of diligence’” but intentional and part a pattern.

The judge argued that she had acted “with benevolent motives to ‘deescalate an unfortunate situation and resolve the visitation issues without further involving the Court.’”  However, the Commission stated that “‘bad faith’ includes ‘any knowing misuse of the office, whatever the motive,’” and concluded that the judge “acted in bad faith because she had ‘[a] specific intent to use the powers of the judicial office to accomplish a purpose which the judge knew or should have known was beyond the legitimate exercise of [her] authority.’”

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).