What judges said that got them in trouble in the second half of 2018

  • “You could have had a job. I had a job, okay. . . .  Went to school full time, worked part-time. . . .”  Judge to college student who had failed to pay fees.  In the Matter Concerning Elswick, Public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 13, 2018).
  • “If you have [ADHD], then I don’t know how you can drive, but that’s a different story.” In the Matter Concerning Elswick, Public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 13, 2018).
  • “Tattoo right now the next court date.” Judge to defendant who had missed previous court dates, before handling him a pen to write on his arm.  In re Ponomarchuk, Stipulation, agreement, and order of admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 20, 2018).
  • “I understand there’s a battle between your office and myself okay. I’m not trying to make a battle is my point.”  Judge to public defender after public defender’s office disqualified the judge in an unrelated case.  In the Matter Concerning Elswick, Public admonishment (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 13, 2018).
  • “You don’t have to sarcastically say thank you every time I make a ruling, okay counsel?” and “I don’t see any other way to take it, counsel …. It’s obviously clear.”  Judge to attorney.  In the Matter of O’Connor, 112 N.E.3d 317 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “Is there some course in law school now, how to be discourteous and how to be rude? Because if there is, you must have gotten an A in it.”  Judge to attorney.  In the Matter of O’Connor, 112 N.E.3d 317 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “No wonder people think lawyers are a disgrace. It’s people like you who give them that impression.”  Judge to attorney.  In the Matter of O’Connor, 112 N.E.3d 317 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “I heard she’s going crazy;” “Well, tase her;” “Shoot her?”; “What do you do, billy-club people?”; “Well, punch her in the face and bring her out here.  You can’t take a 16-year-old?;” “She needs a whoopin’“; and “Is she crazy or is she bad?”  Judge to sheriff about a woman who had been cursing, kicking, and punching sheriff’s deputies while being transported to the court for arraignment.  In the Matter of Astacio, 112 N.E.3d 851 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “Stay out of the street. It’s super annoying.  I hate when people walk in front of my car.  If there was [sic] no rules, I would totally run them over because it’s disrespectful.”  Judge at arraignment of defendant charged with disorderly conduct for walking in the middle of the road.  In the Matter of Astacio, 112 N.E.3d 851 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “She [the prosecutor] didn’t think it was funny … She was offended.  I thought it was hilarious.”  Judge after laughing when a defense attorney said that a request for an order of protection was “a case of buyer’s remorse.”   In the Matter of Astacio, 112 N.E.3d 851 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “I feel like I’ve sat for the last four and a half or five hours dealing with junior high school students, both of you, even though you have some gray over your ears, all right;” and “[I]t was like Mr. Stowell was pretty much the big man on campus, had the bucks in his back pocket, and the petitioner was the best looking girl in school, and he was going to get her any way he possibly could, all right. And she knew it, and she liked it, because she got things.”  Judge in a hearing before denying a request for a restraining order.  In the Matter Concerning Stafford, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance December 13, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “[D]o you want to know what I would have done?” Judge offering advice to prosecutor about countering defense argument in a DWI case while jury was deliberating.  Inquiry Concerning Mills, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 28, 2018) (censure for this and other misconduct).
  • “I was hoping we could just get the State to dismiss it.” Judge in court to prosecutor about a ticket involving “a friend of mine.”  In the Matter of Johanningsmeier, 103 N.E.3d 633 (Indiana 2018) (reprimand).
  • “I can do that” and “we do that all the time in St. Johns County.”  Judge to administrative judge about ordering his bailiff to search a father and turn over his money to the mother in a hearing involving child support.  Inquiry Concerning DuPont, 252 So. 3d 1130 (Florida 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “Eric was not going to be released because he was a threat to society.” Judge to detention center staff about frequent defendant indefinitely detained without due process following arrest for indecent exposure.  In the Matter of Van Gundy, Order and public censure (New Mexico Supreme Court December 31, 2018).
  • “[T]here is not a day, and seldom a night, that goes by that this case has not been on my mind.  I understand your clients [sic] needs.”  Judge to attorneys inquiring about a decision on a motion for permanent child support almost 4 years after the case was taken under advisement.  In re Chapman 819 S.E.2d 346 (North Carolina 2018) (30-day suspension).
  • “I have spoken with E.K. about this land dispute situation prior to E.K. being charged with Harassment 2nd.” Judge explaining why he was disqualifying himself from a boundary dispute involving his neighbor’s daughter — belatedly as he had already made numerous rulings.  In the Matter of Porter, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct November 13, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “You the tax payers decided that a long time ago.” Judge referring to not getting a pay raise when explaining to court personnel that he wanted to dispute a cost of living increase applied to his own child support payments.  In the Matter of Palmer, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court November 8, 2018) (censure).
  • “You don’t have to do this. This isn’t part of your job.”  Judge to police officer arresting her for driving while intoxicated.  In the Matter of Astacio, 112 N.E.3d 851 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “With all due respect, I don’t know you, so you don’t do DWIs, and you don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re making a very big mistake … I’d rather you call someone who does know what they’re doing.” Judge to police officer arresting her for driving while intoxicated.   In the Matter of Astacio, 112 N.E.3d 851 (New York 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “You know that. I’m a f**cking judge.  I would never do anything to hurt you man.  Come on.” Judge to police officer while being handcuffed during arrest for driving while intoxicated.  In the Matter of Benitez, Order (New Jersey Supreme Court September 6, 2018) \ (censure).
  • “Just let it slide,” or words to that effect. Judge to police officer who struck a police van at a traffic light about a report after voluntarily identifying herself as a judge several times.  In the Matter of Michels, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 27, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “When [Obama] said he was going to ‘fundamentally transform’ this nation, he was gaining success.  He was going to transform it from a primarily Judeo-Christian nation into Islam.  Got it now?  Thank God for Trump.”  Court commissioner on Facebook.  In the Matter Concerning Gianquinto, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 22, 2018) (censure).
  • “For the Indian Rez that will not permit the wall built on 75 miles of border on their land — how about building the wall around that rez, fencing them into Mexico? That should please them.”  In the Matter Concerning Gianquinto, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance August 22, 2018) (censure).
  • “[N]ice body for a 70 year old.” Judge to another judge in a text message with a group photo taken at a social function honoring a third judge.  Public Reprimand of Williams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 14, 2018).
  • “I heard [you were] one of my victims.” Judge to clerk after social function at which he had inappropriately touched her, another clerk, and another judge.  Public Reprimand of Williams (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 14, 2018).
  • “Nine inches.” Judge in response clerk stating, “I have a question for you,” after a court session.  In re Kathren, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 7, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “Heifers” and “DW” (double wide). Judge referring to court personnel.  In the Matter of Peeler, 818 S.E.2d 723 (South Carolina 2018) (reprimand).
  • “The Burlington Fire Department Pancake Feed is happening now and 100% of the proceeds go to benefit the families of the victims of the recent tragedy at Cascade Mall. Please consider attending, it runs until noon today.”  Judge in Facebook post.  In re Svaren, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 7, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “Support these folks who are just trying hard to earn some money in an honest way.” Supreme court justice in Facebook post about homeless who sell a newspaper to raise funds.  In re Yu, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 7, 2018) (admonishment).
  • “Judge James Metts and Constable Rowdy Hayden’s Annual School Supply Drive” and “AR-15 Raffle Ticket $10 . . . . Donated by Judge James Metts and Constable Rowdy Hayden” to charitable auction.  On judge’s Facebook page.  Public Admonition of Metts (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct October 3, 2018).
  • “But even though I’ve been asked to find a statute unconstitutional as a sitting judge, I have refused to do so. Because again, it’s not my job to legislate from the bench.”  Judge explaining his judicial philosophy during a candidate forum.  Inquiry Concerning DuPont, 252 So. 3d 1130 (Florida 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • Campaign opponent was “a member of http://www.hideyourpast.com, which is a website that you join to hide your personal history.” Judge while a candidate insinuating that his opponent had secrets that he sought to conceal.  Inquiry Concerning DuPont, 252 So. 3d 1130 (Florida 2018) (removal for this and other misconduct).
  • “Attorney Gregg Lerman has made a lot of money trying to free Palm Beach County’s worst criminals. Now he’s running for judge!”  Judge about her opponent while a candidate.  Inquiry Concerning Santino, 257 So.3d 25 (Florida 2018) (removal for this and related misconduct).
  • “I’m ‘almost’ taller than him. ”  Judge while a candidate in a comment to a photoshopped picture of herself and an actor on her campaign Facebook page, which misled the public that “the Rock” had endorsed her campaign.  In the Matter of Almase, Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposition of discipline (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline October 22, 2018) (reprimand).
  • “Keep this talented team working for our families and for our children.” 2 judges in joint mailer for their re-election campaigns.  Public Warning of Martin and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 20, 2018); Public Warning of Cooks and Order of Additional Education (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 20, 2018).
  • “Judge Eleazar Cano & Rep. Roland Gutierrez look forward to seeing you!” On mailer advertising a campaign event for a state representative running for state senate.  Public Warning of Cano (Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct December 13, 2018).

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

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).