Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Pursuant to the judge’s consent, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for saying “good boy” to an African-American adult man during a hearing.  Public Admonishment of Flier (California Commission on Judicial Performance July 27, 1995).
  • Upholding the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the California Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) engaging in several business transactions with and accepting a gift from a litigant to whom he had awarded a substantial verdict, (2) advising members of a law firm on cases pending before other judges, (3) receiving gifts from attorneys whose interests had or were likely to come before him, (4) failing to disqualify himself or disclose his relationship with those attorneys or their firms when they appeared before him, and (5) making material misrepresentations and omissions to the Commission during its investigation.  Adams v. Commission on Judicial Performance, 897 P.2d 544 (California 1995).
  • Based on an agreed statement of facts and joint recommendation, the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for (1) in 10 cases, repeatedly issuing dispositive orders without making findings of fact or setting forth his reasoning, contrary to law, and despite criticism by the appellate court; (2) repeatedly refusing to accept reply papers on the day of oral argument for contested motions, even though the papers were served within the permissible period, despite appellate court decisions reversing his rulings on grounds of his refusal to accept such papers; (3) a heated verbal confrontation with a neighbor that resulted in the judge being questioned by the police; and (4) failing to fully disclose his income and liabilities for 1992 in the financial disclosure statement required by law.  In the Matter of Dier, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 14, 1995).
  • The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly censured a judge for imposing a sentence in a case to retaliate against the defendant for firing her from her other employment. In the Matter of Lindell-Cloud, Determination (New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct July 14, 1995).
  • The North Dakota Supreme Court publicly censured a former judge for serving as a member of a municipal airport authority while serving as a judge and drafting agreements between the authority and 2 individuals.  In the Matter of Grenz, 534 N.W.2d 816 (North Dakota 1995).

 

Appropriate discourse or personal attack

Approving a resolution proposed by a special committee, the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit publicly admonished a district court judge for the first 2 sentences of a law review article he wrote entitled “The Roberts Court’s Assault on Democracy.”  Resolution of Complaints Against Adelman (7th Circuit Judicial Council June 22, 2020).  The article was published in March in the Harvard Law Review. 

The article begins:

By now it is a truism that Chief Justice John Roberts’ statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that a Supreme Court justice’s role is the passive one of a neutral baseball “umpire who [merely] calls the balls and strikes,” was a masterpiece of disingenuousness.  Roberts’ misleading testimony inevitably comes to mind when one considers the course of decision-making by the Court over which he presides.

According to the Council, the thesis of the article is that, in a number of decisions over the last 15 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has “undermined the rights of poor people and minorities to vote” and “increased the economic and political power of corporations and wealthy individuals,” resulting in “a form of government that is not as responsive as it should be to the will of the majority of the people.”

There were media reports about the article, and 3 individuals filed complaints.  For example, one stated:  “I don’t see how a party with a conservative background appearing before Judge Adelman could be confident that they would receive fair, even‐handed treatment.”

The Council noted that the complaints raised “competing policy considerations in an area of judicial ethics where there is ample room for disagreement.”

The nation has a long tradition of vigorous public debate over Supreme Court decisions, and judges, including judges in the district and circuit courts, have long participated in those debates.  Judges are able to bring special insight and perspective to those debates.  At the same time, judges also have special responsibilities stemming from their roles in dispensing even‐handed justice in all cases that come before them and in strengthening public confidence in the judiciary.

Noting that the judge drew much of his article “from dissenting opinions in the decisions he criticizes,” the decision stated that “judges criticize one another’s reasoning, sometimes harshly” and that the admonishment should not “be interpreted as suggesting that judges should be silenced from criticizing court decisions.”  The Council concluded that “the vast majority” of the judge’s “substantive criticism of Supreme Court decisions” was “well within the boundaries of appropriate discourse,” although it noted it was not “endorsing or disagreeing” with his views.

On the other hand, the Council explained, federal judges “need to write and speak in ways that will not interfere with their work as judges” or “with public perceptions that the judges will approach the cases before them fairly and impartially.”  It explained:

The opening two sentences could reasonably be understood by the public as an attack on the integrity of the Chief Justice rather than disagreement with his votes and opinions in controversial cases.  The attacks on Republican party positions could be interpreted, as the complainants have, as calling into question Judge Adelman’s impartiality in matters implicating partisan or ideological concerns.  While not addressed by specific rules of judicial conduct, these portions of the article do not promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

In response to the complaints, the Council noted, the judge “tried to amend the article,” but it was too late, and offered to publicly acknowledge that “some points in the article are worded inappropriately,” to disavow “any intention to criticize the integrity of the Chief Justice or any other Justices,” and to reaffirm “his commitment to impartial administration of justice, in all cases of any type and with any parties.”  The Council also recognized that the judge “is a thoughtful and hardworking judge who has presided fairly over thousands of cases in his career.”

Finally, the Council noted that the public admonition would remind “all judges within the circuit of our obligations to ensure that judges’ public speaking and writing do not undermine public confidence in the fair administration of justice.”

Complaints like this, about judges’ non‐judicial writings, have been rare and should stay that way.  There is ample room for federal judges to speak and write about the law, including criticisms of past decisions, without prompting appropriate complaints.  Judges should be encouraged to do so consistent with Canon 4 for purposes of public and legal education.  At the same time, it behooves all federal judicial officers to speak and write about the law with special care for their responsibilities to the public and to the larger judicial system, including refraining from personal attacks.

Throwback Thursday

5 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for being “terse” with the litigants at the start of a judgment debtor’s examination, making mocking and demeaning comments to the judgment debtor, and continuing with the judgment debtor exam even after learning that the judgment debtor had filed for bankruptcy prior to the hearing date. Williams, Order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 22, 2015).
  • Based on a stipulated resolution, the Arizona Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for failing to disclose that he jointly owned property with a litigant in 2 protective order proceedings. Bravo, Order (Arizona Supreme Court June 26, 2015).
  • Based on a stipulation and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court suspended a judge for 30 days without pay for using social media to a ask her friends to help her husband, at the time a judicial candidate, correct perceived misstatements by his opponent. Inquiry Concerning Krause, 166 So. 3d 176 (Florida 2015).
  • Accepting a stipulation and approving the findings and recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for, at the inception of her judicial campaign, failing to follow Florida law when she opened her campaign account and lent money to her campaign prior to filing the necessary qualification paperwork. Inquiry Concerning Griffin, 167 So. 3d 450 (Florida 2015).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Florida Supreme Court removed a judge for her deceptive conduct as an attorney toward her clients and co-counsel in the settlement of multi-party litigation. Inquiry Concerning Watson, 174 So. 3d 987 (Florida 2015).
  • The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission suspended a judge for 15 days without pay for holding a hearing to resolve issues concerning the internal operation of the county’s attorney’s office at which he demeaned and denigrated his election opponent, a chief assistant criminal court prosecutor. In re Popovich, Findings, conclusions, and order (Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission June 18, 2015).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a chancellor for 30 days without pay, fined him $1,000, and publicly reprimanded him for ignoring a supersedeas bond that stayed execution of a judgment pending appeal, holding the appellant in contempt, and ordering him incarcerated. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Littlejohn, 172 So. 3d 1157 (Mississippi 2015).

Virtual, personal campaign solicitation

In response to an inquiry from a judicial candidate, the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issued an opinion addressing the new judicial campaign fund-raising methods necessitated by “social distancing, self-quarantine requirements, and other requirements in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Florida Advisory Opinion 2020-9.

The candidate asked 2 questions about virtual events:

  1. May a judicial candidate appear on a computer or TV screen during a video meet and greet or video fundraiser while a donation button appears on the screen?
  2. May a judicial candidate appear on a computer monitor for a virtual fundraiser and can a donation button appear if the candidate leaves the screen temporarily, and then the button disappears when the judicial candidate reappears on the screen?

In response, the committee emphasized that “the same principles applicable to in-person campaign events and activities are applicable to virtual campaign events and activities.  Specifically, a judge or judicial candidate may not in any way take part in the solicitation of campaign contributions.”

The committee concluded that a judicial candidate may appear on screen during a virtual fund-raiser sponsored by the candidate’s campaign committee – as long as there is no donation button on the screen. The committee explained that allowing a candidate appear when a donation button is also on the screen would be the same as “permitting a member of the committee of responsible persons to hold up a donate sign, while the judicial candidate was addressing potential supporters at an in-person campaign event or activity.”

Further, the committee advised, a candidate must leave a virtual meeting before the campaign committee asks for contributions and “may not come back to the virtual meeting after the ask.”  It explained:  “The candidate should leave the virtual meeting when the solicitation occurs, so as to avoid the impression which a reasonable person may draw that the solicitation was being made by the candidate.”  To “more clearly eliminate concerns over the appearance of improper soliciting,” the committee added that the candidate’s departure from the virtual meeting should be announced because “simply leaving a virtual meeting is not always that easily noticed by those who continue to participate.”

The candidate also asked the committee 2 questions about telephonic events:

  1. May a committee of responsible persons solicit donations for a judicial candidate during a telephonic campaign event if they are in another room other than the judicial candidate and the judicial candidate temporarily leaves the event during the request?
  2. May a judicial candidate work with a committee of responsible persons to do introductions telephonically and once the judicial candidate leaves the conversation may members of the committee solicit support and/or donations?

The committee stated that a candidate may appear during a telephonic campaign event sponsored by the candidate’s campaign committee but must leave the event before the committee asks for contributions, the departure must be announced, and the candidate may not come back to the event after the ask.

Finally, the committee prohibited a candidate from making introductions during a telephonic campaign event before leaving the conversation to allow members of the committee to make the solicitation.  The committee explained that solicitation method is a “’transparent attempt to avoid a “personal” solicitation.  It remains solicitation by the candidate but done with a wink and a nod.  The presence of the candidate in the conversation continues.  It is as if the candidate is looking over the shoulder of the solicitor.’”  The committee quoted Wisconsin Advisory Opinion 1997-7.  The committee did add that a candidate may advise or give direction to a member of the campaign committee about “persons from whom to solicit contributions, without otherwise being present during the solicitation.”

The Florida code of judicial conduct provides:

A candidate, including an incumbent judge, for a judicial office that is filled by public election between competing candidates shall not personally solicit campaign funds, or solicit attorneys for publicly stated support, but may establish committees of responsible persons to secure and manage the expenditure of funds for the candidate’s campaign and to obtain public statements of support for his or her candidacy.

The prohibition on personally soliciting contributions is similar to Rule 4.1A(8) in the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct.  The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a First Amendment challenge to the prohibition in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, 575 U.S. 433 (2015).  The prohibition on personally soliciting publicly stated support was eliminated from the model code in the 2007 revisions.

Throwback Thursday

10 years ago this month:

  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for injecting herself into a traffic case involving her son by approaching a court administrator and a hearing officer. Segal, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 17, 2010).
  • The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for informality and attempted humor in the courtroom that gave the appearance that he did not take the defendant’s case seriously. Gaines, Amended order (Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct June 22, 2010).
  • Agreeing with the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Georgia Supreme Court removed a non-lawyer judge for (1) routinely stating to criminal defendants that they had the burden of proving their innocence; (2) allowing criminal defendants to “buy out” their community service, placing the proceeds into a bank account from which he judge would authorize the release of funds by court orders he signed, and failing to disclose the bank account or turn over the money to the county; (3) abusing and insulting parties appearing in court; (4) routinely initiating and considering ex parte communications; (5) disposing of criminal cases in which the defendants were charged with crimes that were beyond the jurisdiction of his court; (6) involving himself in a matter not properly before his court and using the prestige of his office to improperly influence a litigant; (7) issuing orders that prohibited the sheriff from awarding “good time” in accordance with a statute; and (9) allowing unqualified persons to serve as interpreters in his court. Inquiry Concerning Fowler, 696 S.E.2d 644 (Georgia 2010).
  • The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded a judge for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Press release (McEvoy) (Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct June 9, 2010).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge from office for 30 days without pay, publicly reprimanded him, and fined him $1,500 for inappropriately touching a court clerk and using a racially derogatory term to refer to an African-American department of corrections employee. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Brown, 37 So.3d 14 (Mississippi 2010).
  • The Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications publicly reprimanded a judge for displaying an impatient, discourteous, angry, and condescending tone and demeanor during a child support hearing. In the Matter of Silverman (Nebraska Commission on Judicial Qualifications June 4, 2010).

Recent cases

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which the judge did not contest, the Alaska Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for failing to decide a matter for more than 6 months and signing pay affidavits that she should have known were not accurate.  In the Disciplinary Matter Involving White (Alaska Supreme Court May 8, 2020).
  • Pursuant to an agreement with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission, a judge resigned and agreed to a permanent bar from holding judicial office in the state for (1) failing to immediately recuse from all cases involving a female defendant with whom he was communicating on Facebook Messenger and by telephone and engaging in ex parte communications with her about her cases after he recused; and (2) calling the mayor and the police chief after his wife received a traffic ticket and using unprofessional language and exhibiting unbecoming demeanor during the call.  Letter of resignation and prohibition from office (Throesch) (Arkansas Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission May 1, 2020).
  • Based on an agreement, the California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for, in several hearings in a family law case, making comments that demonstrated embroilment, bias, and pre-judgement and that were discourteous and undignified, including accusing the parents of damaging their child and initiating a discussion about religion with a witness.  In the Matter Concerning Gary, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance May 14, 2020) .
  • Based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for routinely conducting first appearances without complying with statute and the rules of criminal procedure and engaging in improper ex parte communications with defendants, witnesses, litigants, family members, and others regarding cases or matters pending, impending, or likely to come before him.  Inquiry Concerning Scaff (Florida Supreme Court May 28, 2020) .
  • Based on the findings and recommendation of a 3-judge panel, the New Jersey Supreme Court removed a judge from office for (1) his coarse questioning of an alleged domestic violence victim during a hearing and his sophomoric comments to staff members in open court after the hearing; (2) asking a court employee to contact her counterpart in another court to request that his personal guardianship matter be rescheduled to accommodate him; (3) failing to recuse himself from a matrimonial matter when he had known both parties since high school and “drastically” reducing a judgement based solely on the husband’s testimony; and (4) threatening and belittling an unrepresented litigant in an ex parte conversation.  In the Matter of Russo (New Jersey Supreme Court May 26, 2020).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge from office and banned him from serving in office again based on its guilty plea to federal charges of mail fraud and filing a false personal income tax return and his conviction on federal perjury charges.  In re Mulgrew, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline May 6, 2020).
  • The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline removed a former judge from office and barred him from further judicial service based on his guilty plea to federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and extortion under color of official right.  In re Waltman, Opinion and order (Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline May 6, 2020).

Marching up-date

To up-date the Tuesday blog post on judges’ participating in marches, vigils, and similar issue-related community activities, note that the Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics has just posted a relevant new opinion. In Connecticut Informal Opinion 2020-3, the committee advised that a judicial officer may not participate in “A Silent March of Black Female Attorneys of Connecticut” by meeting marchers on the steps of the Supreme Court and reading part of the state constitution even if he is not introduced, does not identify himself by name or title, does not wear a robe, does not permit his name or title to be used in advertising, does not interpret the constitutional provision, and does not speak with the media. The opinion notes that the judicial officer’s identity could be easily ascertained and that supporters of the march are encouraged to bring protest signs, which might, refer to police brutality and/or other pending cases, and will be wearing “We Can’t Breathe” buttons, which refer to the George Floyd case and similar police abuse cases.

Throwback Thursday

20 years ago this month:

  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for driving under the influence and failing to report the criminal charges and his conviction to the Commission.  Public Admonishment of Ryan (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 20, 2000).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly admonished a judge for (1) making comments to a deputy district attorney concerning the attorney’s alleged drinking habits and those of her future father-in-law; (2) making an ex parte comment to 2 deputy district attorneys; and (3) making a statement to a thin white defendant that was reasonably understood to infer that he might be vulnerable to sexual assault in jail. Inquiry Concerning Shaw, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 26, 2000).
  • The California Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a judge for (1) touching his bailiff’s breasts and staring at and asking to see her breasts; (2) making a sexually suggestive comment to a female deputy sheriff; (3) making a derogatory reference to a female deputy district attorney; and (4) telling a clerk that he wanted her to “sit in the courtroom and look pretty” and puckering his lips and kissing at her from afar. Inquiry Concerning Willoughby, Decision and order (California Commission on Judicial Performance June 27, 2000).
  • Accepting the findings and recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission based on a stipulation, the Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for making several comments to police designed to obtain favorable treatment after being arrested on a charge of solicitation for prostitution. Inquiry Concerning Richardson, 760 So. 2d 932 (Florida 2000).
  • Adopting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Kansas Supreme Court publicly censured a judge for recusing from some cases involving a law firm and a sole practitioner but refusing to recuse from other cases and requiring an informed consent by the lawyers’ clients, rather than obtaining waiver. In the Matter of Platt, 8 P.3d 686 (Kansas 2000).
  • Granting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge and fined him $500 for contacting the officer who arrested the judge’s son for DUI and asking the judge assigned to his son’s case for her help in getting the case dismissed. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Brown, 761 So. 182 (Mississippi 2000).
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court suspended a judge for 90 days and fined him $1,500 for harassing and intimidating a minor female who had accused the judge of engaging in sexual relations with her and for intimidating a high school student who had made suggestive remarks to the minor. Commission on Judicial Performance v. Bishop, 761 So. 2d 195 (Mississippi 2000).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a judge for (1) holding tickets in abeyance and (2) presiding in preliminary matters in a case involving her grandson. In the Matter of Johnson, 532 S.E.2d 883 (South Carolina 2000).
  • Accepting an agreement, the South Carolina Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a former magistrate for (1) failing to promptly deposit money collected from defendants for bail; (2) incurring insufficient funds charges against his magistrate’s account; (3) stating on his disclosure statement that he had no extra-judicial income when he had income from conducting a shoplifting prevent seminar; (4) acting in a loud, disorderly manner with staff of the county detention center; (5) releasing defendants based on ex parte communications; (6) issuing an order involving child custody when he did not have authority to do so; (7) making inappropriate comments to a female deputy; and (8) failing to transmit funds collected for bonds to the other magistrate. In the Matter of Nelson, 532 S.E.2d 609 (South Carolina 2000).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and the judge’s agreement to resign, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct public censured a judge for using court computer equipment, a state-provided computer, and state-provided Internet services to access Internet sites for his personal benefit, including “adult-only” sites, on-line auction sites, personal financial sites, shopping sites, and personal travel sites. In re Furman, Stipulation, agreement, and order (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 2, 2000).

Marching

Judges sometimes ask judicial ethics advisory committees whether they can participate in marches, vigils, and similar issue-related community events.  This is the advice committees have provided:

  • Before attending a march, rally, or protest, judges must assume their participation will be scrutinized, publicized, and depicted in reports of the event, including in press coverage or on social media; and consider whether participation “would appear to a reasonable person” to undermine the judge’s “independence, integrity, or impartiality or demean the judicial office,” which is an objective standard. Judges should examine the official title of an event, its stated mission, its sponsors, and its organizers.  If a judge participates in a march, rally, or protest focused on social, legal, or political issues that may become the subject of litigation or that is sponsored or organized by individuals or entities who regularly appear in state court proceedings, a reasonable person may have cause to question the judge’s independence and impartiality when making decisions about those issues, individuals, or entities in subsequent cases.  Judges must also scrupulously avoid any extra-judicial activity tied to an organization that practices invidious discrimination.  Judges should not participate in a march, rally, or protest if such participation could reasonably be viewed as supporting or opposing a candidate for public office or as speaking publicly on behalf of a political organization.  Even if a march, rally, or protest relates to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, there are potential ethical pitfalls.  Even assuming attendance at a march, rally, or protest is appropriate in the first instance, a judge must remain vigilant and be prepared to leave if the event proves problematic.  Unless an event is directly related to the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice, judges should refrain from publicizing their affiliation with the judicial branch when participating.  Arizona Advisory Opinion 2018-6..
  • A judicial officer may not participate in “A Silent March of Black Female Attorneys of Connecticut” by meeting marchers on the steps of the Supreme Court and reading part of the state constitution even if he is not introduced, does not identify himself by name or title, does not wear a robe, does not permit his name or title to be used in advertising, does not interpret the constitutional provision, and does not speak with the media.  Connecticut Informal Opinion 2020-3.
  • A judge may attend ceremonies held by law enforcement agencies to honor officers killed in the line of duty. Florida Advisory Opinion 1992-34.
  • A judge may attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving candlelight vigil if it is not a fund-raising event and the judge’s attendance would not be announced. Florida Advisory Opinion 1995-41.
  • A judge may participate in a “March for Science” if it is centered on matters that are unlikely to come before the court. To determine whether to participate in an issue-related gathering, a judge should thoughtfully examine whether the issues might be likely to come before the court or adversely impact judicial independence or the appearance of impropriety or the appearance of impropriety or bias.  Illinois Advisory Opinion 2019-1.
  • A judge may not participate in the Women’s March on Washington scheduled for the day after the presidential Inauguration. Massachusetts Letter Opinion 2016-10.
  • Judges may not participate in a candlelight vigil celebrating the one millionth child served by CASA programs across the country even if the vigil is non-partisan and not connected with fund-raising. New Jersey Advisory Opinion 2008-1.
  • A judge must not participate in a high-profile, apparently non-partisan march to recognize the importance of scientific endeavors and rational thought in society unless she determines that the march is not co-sponsored by or affiliated with any political organization and does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for election and her participation will not involve her in impermissible political activity or insert her unnecessarily into public controversy. In the period leading up to the event, the judge must monitor the march’s agenda and publicly reported affiliations and sponsorships.  A judge may not participate in a local political rally, march, or demonstration sponsored by grassroots organizations, even if she would refrain from speaking.  New York Advisory Opinion 2017-38.
  • A judge may not appear at a candlelight vigil for those affected by domestic violence. New York Advisory Opinion 2010-59.
  • A family court judge should not attend a tree planting and candlelight vigil on behalf of victims of crime in the judge’s county. New York Advisory Opinion 2004-91.
  • A judge may attend “A Day of Remembrance” ceremony to honor victims of domestic violence but should take care that his mannerisms, actions, or speech do not cast doubt on his impartiality and should not act as an advocate or in any way indicate a predisposition as to how he might rule in a domestic violence case. Washington Advisory Opinion 1996-16.

 

Throwback Thursday

25 years ago this month:

  • Accepting the recommendation of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed from office a judge who had openly lived with a fugitive charged in Georgia with several drug-related felonies, allowed the fugitive to drive her car with a suspended license, actively participated in the felony case in Georgia, and married him after he was convicted; the Court also fined the judge the salary she had received since the date on which she had agreed to resign.  Commission on Judicial Performance v. Milling, 657 So. 2d 531 (Mississippi 1995).
  • Concurring in the determination of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, the New Jersey Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a part-time judge for permitting a fax transmission to be sent from his law office to the judge of another municipal court about a matter pending in that court.  In the Matter of Carton, 658 A.2d 1211 (New Jersey 1995).
  • Pursuant to a stipulation and agreement, the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct publicly admonished a part-time judge for delaying for approximately 13 months in deciding a small claims case and misplacing the file in his law offices.  In re the Matter of Linde, Stipulation and Agreement and Order of Admonishment (Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct June 1, 1995).