What they said that got them in trouble in the first half of 2018

  • “Mr. Maggot” or “Maggot Man.” Judge referring in court to a man who was the subject of a guardianship proceeding.  Public Admonition of Cross and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 18, 2018) (admonition for this and other misconduct).
  • “This is a redneck court.” Judge at beginning of court session.  Public Warning of Lee and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct April 18, 2018) (warning).
  • “[A]s white as a piece of wonder bread, gets all kinds of protection and attention from the prosecution office.” Judge describing victim in domestic violence case.  In the Matter Concerning Lord, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 11, 2018) (admonishment for this and related misconduct).
  • ““You can have your temper tantrum outside of my courtroom.” Judge to attorney in courtroom.  In the Matter Concerning Novak, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 30, 2018) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).
  • “You’re an animal,” and “I am not a potted plant.” Judge rejecting agreed-on sentence in plea agreement in domestic violence case.  In re Wilson, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct May 11, 2018) (admonishment).
  • The municipal court judge is “going to find you guilty and issue you a fine. He knows that, he’s with it, he’s tired of it, the Police Department’s tired of it, alright?”  Judge telling neighbors involved in long-running dispute that any further calls to the police would result in disorderly conduct tickets regardless of the circumstances.  In the Matter of Calvert (Wisconsin Supreme Court June 15, 2018) (15-day suspension without pay for this and related misconduct).
  • “Well, I actually – I remember [this defendant], and I remember thinking he was different than most of the people that I dealt with when I was defense attorney. I remember telling the judge that I felt like it was outside of his character for him to do something like this.  In my dealings with him he was a very respectful young man.”  New judge while sentencing defendant she had represented at the preliminary hearing in the same case.  In re O’Rourke, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct March 9, 2018) (admonishment for this and related misconduct).
  • “Show Mr. Andrews for the State. Defendant appears in person, in custody, pro se.  There’s a motion to revoke your probation for failure to comply on file for various reasons.  I find that sufficient.  I revoke your probation and remand you to the custody of the Sheriff’s Office to serve the balance of your sentence.  We’re adjourned.  Parties may withdraw.”  Entire transcript of hearing in which judge revoked a defendant’s probation.  In the Matter of Trigg, 414 P.3d 1203 (Kansas 2018) (censure for this and related misconduct).
  • “This is the time I’ve set for a status hearing so that I could try to get everybody in here and help me figure out the status of these cases. I apologize to all.”  Judge over a year after a post-conviction relief petition was filed and over a year before disqualifying himself from the case without having issued a decision.  Inquiry Concerning Jantzen, Order (Arizona Supreme Court June 15, 2018) (censure for this and related misconduct).
  • “Dragging [my] feet,” no excuses other than “dread” of the case, and “making a decision soon.” Judge to chief judge over a year and a half after taking a case under advisement and approximately 9 months before issuing a decision.  In re Henderson, 812 S.E.2d 826 (North Carolina 2018) (reprimand).
  • “I wanted everything to remain the status quo until we had a chance to review the issue at the motion for a new trial.” Judge explaining to a reporter, while a motion for a new trial was pending, his denial of a request for a protective order at sentencing.  In the Matter Concerning Lord, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance April 11, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “[S]he would be here in hunter orange this morning, in chains, where she would stay and enjoy her Thanksgiving dinner, probably her Christmas dinner as well.” Judge about clerk in ex parte hearing at which he barred her from the courthouse.  In the Matter of Young, 92 N.E.3d 628 (Indiana 2018) (6-day suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “[Y]es, go ahead,” and “[N]o problem.” Judge giving a probationer in veterans court permission to handle a gun, notwithstanding firearms prohibition as a probationary condition.  Inquiry Concerning Day, 413 P.3d 907 (Oregon 2018) (3-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “So, I live right there. I’m Judge Atwal from Ramsey County.”  Judge to police officer in traffic stop that led to arrest for driving while impaired.  In the Matter of Atwal, Public reprimand (Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards May 30, 2018) (reprimand for this and related misconduct).
  • “Please Call Me.” Judge on large sign in the front window of his vehicle when he pulled in front of his estranged wife’s vehicle.  In re Sachse, 240 So. 3d 170 (Louisiana 2018) (6-month suspension without pay for a pattern of stalking and harassing his ex-wife).
  • “Mom and Alton are turning over in their graves.” Judge commenting on Facebook about photo showing disorder in house formerly owned by mother-in-law and stepfather-in-law occupied by buyer who had defaulted on contract with estate.  In the Matter of Fisher, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 26, 2018) (admonishment for this and related misconduct).
  • “This murder suspect was RELEASED FROM JAIL just hours after killing a man and confessing to police.”  Judge’s post on Facebook commenting on news story.  In re McLaughlin, Agreed order public reprimand (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission June 12, 2018) (reprimand).
  • “Fired by Obama to please the Muslims, hired by Trump to exterminate them.” Meme about General James Mattis shared by judge on Facebook.  Public Reprimand of Burkeen (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct February 21, 2018) (reprimand).
  • “It goes without saying but the tenant wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier.” Judge on Facebook mocking litigant who appeared before him in an eviction proceedings.  Urie, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 12, 2018) (reprimand).
  • “Please help Boys & Girls Club.” Judge using his judicial e-mail account to encourage recipient to purchase lunch tickets for $15 a plate.  In the Matter of Castaneda, Order (New Mexico Supreme Court February 12, 2018) (bar from judicial office for this and other inappropriate uses of state e-mail address).
  • “I can take a lot of things, but I can’t take a liar.” Judge to court clerk about her cooperation in discipline investigation.  In re Tidd, 181 A.3d 14 (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline 2018) (reprimand for this and other misconduct).
  • “I nearly went down on my hands and knees, but was able to right myself.” False statement by judge to commission about confrontation with referee at his son’s soccer game.  Inquiry Concerning Day, 413 P.3d 907 (Oregon 2018) (3-year suspension without pay for this and other misconduct).
  • “The Johnson’s [sic] lost the business but continue to make payments on the loan.” False statement about loan default by judge to commission in investigation.  In the Matter Concerning Johnson, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance January 16, 2018) (admonishment for this and other misconduct).