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News About Judicial Misconduct, Corruption, Accountability

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not. -- Quote by Oprah Winfrey
Oprah, did you take into account that the United States Supreme Court  made bribery of judges and politicians in the United States the "right thing"?

"U.S. Supreme Court limited the scope of so-called honest services laws, and he says that means he's innocent of a crime to which he pleaded guilty.
The law says it's a crime for a public official to deprive citizens of honest services while in office or to be involved in such a crime. The Supreme Court found problems with the law in the conviction of former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling. The Supreme Court ruled June 24, 2010, that prosecutors can use the law only in cases where evidence shows the defendant accepted bribes or kickbacks." (The Republic)
"Judge, the USSC is playing our song-
U.S. Justice is for sale, is for sale, IS for sale
. . . We all fall DOWN!"                                        

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News about Judicial Misconduct, Corruption, and Accountability

*Published articles and commentary pertaining to Toxic Justice.
Please click on archives link below for articles older than two months.
If you believe the courts in US give you a fair chance at justice, read the articles below and rethink your assumption.  In the stories listed below, the people had no choice but to place their faith in the US justice system only to be  adversely affected in the hands of toxic judges and a system the has little to no oversight over toxic justice.   Until US and state lawmakers have the courage to change it, the US justice system will remain the best money can buy.

2011
  • 6/24/11 Activist Dead Weeks After Posting Video About His Fears, (Official Wire)  Sun Ming Sheu"Since his death last summer, associates of Sun Ming Sheu, an activist fighting alleged judicial corruption in New York, remain convinced that he was murdered and that police aren't investigating his death because of a coverup."


2010

October 2010

  • 10/9/2010 Daily Journal Reports Balducci is Coming Home, (NMissCommentator) "OXFORD – Timothy Balducci, the government’s key informant in a judicial bribery scandal that rocked Mississippi, reportedly has been released early from prison."
  • 10/9/2010 More women reporting corruption, (The Simbabwean) "On the judicial complaints, TI-Z said the role of the judiciary was to interpret and enforce the laws of the country through the legal and justice systems such as the Courts.
    “Regrettably, this field has not been spared by corruption with four complaints having been received during the month of September. Unwarranted delays in legal processes, requests for bribes by public prosecutors and the failure to execute judgments have seen the public losing faith in their judicial system."
  • *10/4/2010 US Supreme Court lets stand corruption convictions of prominent Miss. lawyer, ex-judges, (LATimes) "The justices on Monday let stand without comment a ruling by a federal appeals court that upheld most convictions of the lawyer, Paul Minor, and the judges, John Whitfield and Wes Teel. The men were convicted for their roles in a complicated scheme involving loans for the judges and allegedly favorable rulings in civil cases involving Minor."

April 2010

  • 4/2/2010 Judge got a silent slap on the wrist (Concord Monitor) "The case before the committee involved two justices, Sharon DeVries, a special justice with the Portsmouth District Court, and Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler. DeVries called Smukler, who was about to decide whether to release a juvenile from detention, to warn him that the youth was likely to fail to appear before the court and vanish. Smukler decided not to release the juvenile, but he realized that he had erred because judges, save in emergencies, are prohibited from discussing pending cases. He sent a letter to the committee recommended that he be disciplined for doing so with DeVries."
  • 4/2/2010 Commission on Judicial Performance releases 2009 annual report (The Californian.com)  "The agency removed from the bench in 2006 Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jose Velasquez on the ground of judicial misconduct. The California Supreme Court later upheld the commission's ruling. The charges against him included speaking to defendants in Spanish when the law calls for proceedings to be conducted in English, increasing sentences for probation violators without due process, joking about jail time with defendants, and allowing his children to be present around the bench while he worked."
  • 4/2/2010 Judicial panel says Twiggs judge should be removed (Macon.com) "The commission noted nine violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct in its report alleging that Fowler: � Improperly and routinely told criminal defendants that it was their burden to prove their innocence.� Didn’t understand and apply the proper legal standard for a finding of guilt. � Collected fees from defendants in lieu of their serving community service and deposited the money into a bank account. He didn’t turn over the collected money to Twiggs County. He controlled the bank account and issued orders for disbursements. � Routinely used rude, abusive and insulting language to parties appearing in Probate Court. On one occasion in 2008, Fowler insinuated that a woman had provided sexual favors to an officer who stopped her for a traffic violation. � Initiated and considered “ex parte,” or one-sided, communications. � Disposed of criminal matters that were outside the scope of his authority as probate judge. � Became involved in a judicial matter not properly before his court and used the prestige of his judicial office to improperly influence a litigant. � Issued court orders prohibiting the Twiggs County sheriff from awarding “good time” to inmates. � Allowed unqualified people to serve as interpreters. '" And this judge sat on the bench for two years after the first complaint was made. 
  • 4/1/2010 NJ Supreme Court ethics panel accuses ex-Bergenfield municipal judge of judicial misconduct (NorthJersey.com) "In a complaint filed last week, the state Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct alleged that former Municipal Judge Lynn Muller reprimanded police officers for not providing adequate security for her as a judge when they refused to arrest Sgt. Warren “Woody” Monroe, an investigator with the state Attorney General’s Office. The complaint pointed out that Muller interacted with police officers in her role as a judge."
March 2010

  • 3/26/2010 Chicago judge to decide if his own accuser goes to jail (Washington Examiner)  "How’s this for an eyeball-popping conflict of interest?   Chicago Circuit Court Judge Alexander White - the same judge accused of being on the take in a civil trial four years ago - is expected to rule today on whether his accuser has to serve the remaining 34 days of his sentence on criminal contempt of court charges in Cook County Jail. . . raising new questions about retaliation and witness tampering. (See ToxicJustice blog )
  • 3/24/2010  Justice looks to kick colleague off his case (The Badger Herald) "Facing allegations of ethics violations in a 2008 campaign ad, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is trying to exclude fellow Justice Patrick Crooks from taking part in the case because he believes Crooks to be biased against him."
  • 3/22/2010 Gableman wants Crooks off of ethics case (Wisconsin Journal Sentinel) "Madison — State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who has spent the last year fighting efforts to remove him from cases for bias, is now trying to force Justice N. Patrick Crooks from an ethics case against Gableman."
  • 3/11/2010 House Votes to Impeach New Orleans Judge Porteous (Wall Street Journal) "Only 14 federal judges have ever been impeached. . . charging Porteous with taking payoffs and lying under oath. . .As we explained here, Porteous has been accused of soliciting money from lawyers who appeared before him."
  • 3/10/2010 Judicial Conduct Board acknowledges it ignored complaints (Citizen's Voice) "A state agency under scrutiny for failing to act on misconduct complaints against two former Luzerne County judges never investigated an earlier complaint and adjusted its handling of the most detailed allegations because it was already prosecuting ex-county Judge Ann H. Lokuta, agency officials said. . .Federal prosecutors charged Ciavarella, 60, and Conahan, 57, in January 2009 with pocketing $2.8 million in kickbacks from backers of a pair of for-profit juvenile detention centers. Ciavarella, the juvenile court judge from 2003 to May 2008, has admitted to violating the rights of thousands of young defendants. Lokuta, who was removed from the bench in December 2008, was accused of acting discourteous to her staff, creating a tense atmosphere in her chambers, badgering witnesses and attorneys and arriving late to court."
  • 3/10/2010 Obama Judicial Nominee Who Supported Serial Killer (FoxNews) "U.S. District Court Judge Robert Chatigny gained notoriety in 2005 for his role in trying to fight the execution of convicted serial killer and rapist Michael Ross, also known as The Roadside Strangler, whom Chatigny had described as a victim of his own "sexual sadism." His conduct in that case, which included threatening to go after Ross' attorney's law license, as well as his ruling in 2001 against sex offender registries created under Megan's Law, has caused a commotion among Republicans on the judiciary panel. "
  • 3/9/2010 Pilots: United Airlines bankruptcy never should have happened (WashingtonExaminer) "Lynch said he turned over material evidence, including  “bank accounts, real estate holdings, trust accounts, and fake real estate deeds of multiple allegedly corrupt judges and attorneys” to authorities, including what he said was evidence of a $40 million “bribery fund” Wedoff allegedly used to hide money from federal authorities in a trust, including fake real estate transactions he says were covered up by LaSalle Bank, Wells Fargo and Northern Trust Bank.  Judge Wedoff refused to recuse himself in a current case involving a company owned by Lynch’s brother, which Lynch claims is retaliation for his allegations of judicial corruption."
  • 3/8/2010 Judicial Conduct Board Needs to Answer Questions Regarding Luzerne Scandal (The Legal Intelligencer) "Months of news reports, legal wrangling and efforts by the Judicial Conduct Board to keep its role in and knowledge of the Luzerne County scandal under tight wraps lead us to conclude that — at a minimum — when it came to Luzerne County, the board had its priorities out of whack."
  • 3/5/2010  Ex-judge booted for good (Clarionledger.com) "This court cannot allow the dismissal of formal complaints in two separate cases pursuant to DeLaughter's resignation or any mere agreement not to seek judicial office in the future," Justice James Graves wrote in the nine-page opinion.In the opinion, Graves noted DeLaughter's plea agreement and resignation letter did not contain language saying he won't seek judicial office in the future."
  • *3/4/2010 DeLaughter officially removed from Hinds bench (Clarionledger.com) "The Mississippi Supreme Court has formally removed imprisoned former judge Bobby DeLaughter from the Hinds County bench."
  • 3/4/2010  LR judge visited jail as 'attorney' (Arkansas Times) "Little Rock District Judge Mark Leverett visited inmates at the Pulaski County Detention Facility at least nine times last year, signing in as “attorney” in a book reserved for lawyers visiting their clients, even though a three-judge panel had earlier said he could not represent criminal defendants in Pulaski County."
  • 3/3/2010  Judge Ana Gardiner Hit With Formal Charges(New Times Broward Palm Beach) "The Judicial Qualifications Commission -- nearly two years after I broke the story about Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner's improper contact with former state prosecutor (and RRA hire) Howard Scheinberg -- has filed formal charges against the judge. Rumors are swirling that Gardiner is set to resign her position as soon as today."
  • 3/3/2010 Attorney still jailed for contempt (Daily News Los Angeles) "In an "extremely rare" case of a lawyer jailed for contempt of court, former taxpayer advocate attorney Richard I. Fine has spent a year, as of today, in Men's Central Jail in what he claims is retaliation for exposing judicial corruption."
  • *2/28/2010 Lawsuit vs. judge proceeds (ClarionLedger.com) Mississippi. " A federal judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit against a sitting county judge accused of knowingly making false claims to authorities."
  • 2/26/2010 Broward circuit judge accused of misconduct (SunSentinel.com) "It does show what happens when you allow considerations for family, in this case a spouse, to cloud your judgment," Jarvis said. "It doesn't reflect well on him and I think this will really hurt her, too … because she did nothing to stop it and participated in it."
  • *2/25/2010  Appeals court denies Minor's motion for rehearing (Sun Herald) "JACKSON, Miss. -- A federal appeals court has denied Paul Minor's request for a rehearing in a judicial corruption case that sent the former lawyer and two judges to prison.Minor was a prominent tort lawyer before being convicted in 2007 with former Harrison County judges John Whitfield and Wes Teel."
  • 2/24/2010 Judge Thomas' conduct merits losing his law license (PressRegister.com)  "Meanwhile, Mr. Thomas is now a candidate for the state Senate, running in the Democratic primary against incumbent Vivian Davis Figures. Her son has testified that he was paddled by Mr. Thomas, and Sen. Figures has testified that she gave Mr. Thomas permission although she was not aware that her son was forced to drop his pants."
  • *2/23/2010 Attorneys, AG Hood want Pickering to drop fees case (Legal Newsline.com) "ACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - Opponents of Mississippi Auditor Stacey Pickering say he has spent too much time and taxpayer money fighting $14 million in attorneys fees for private lawyers hired to represent the State."
  • 2/23/2010 State judicial committee involved in probe of Corpus Christi city judge (Corpus Christy Caller.com) "In October, local lawyer Rene Rodriguez accused King of allowing non-judicial staff members to take pleas from defendants when she oversaw the city’s juvenile court. Rodriguez made the accusation in his written requests for public information and in other correspondence with the city."
  • 2/22/2010 Questions of an Affair Tainting a Trial (New York Times) "'The existence of a prior sexual relationship between a judge and a prosecutor is not cause to absolutely disqualify a judge,' Mr. Roach told the appeals court last year."
  • 2/21/2010 Johnston’s resignation came during 35-minute conversation (Ledger-Inquirer.com) "Woods’ resignation came after e-mails surfaced that showed a personal relationship was developing between the judge and a woman who was a defendant in his drug court, according to the Fulton Daily Report, an Atlanta-based newspaper that covers the state judicial system. "'I call it a retirement,' Woods told the Daily Report.'I just got tired of living under a microscope.'  While charged with investigating judicial misconduct, the Judicial Qualifications Commission can also look into a judge’s physical or mental fitness to serve."
  • *2/19/2010 Miss. judge upholds $14M lawyers' fees in MCI case (Sun Herald)  "Joey Langston and Timothy Balducci in 2005 negotiated the legal fees separate from a settlement with MCI in a lawsuit they filed on behalf of the state. They were later disbarred after pleading guilty in an unrelated judicial bribery investigation.Pickering argued the $14 million belongs to Mississippi taxpayers."
  • 2/19/2010  States, Congress wrestle with judicial bias rules (Washington Post) "Judges might not be the best people to determine whether they should recuse [step down] themselves from cases," said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat who recently held a congressional hearing on the issue. "The failure of a judge to recuse himself or herself where the outcome is a miscarriage of justice should be taken very seriously."
  • *2/19/2010 Judge agrees to funds distribution (WXVT.com) "OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge has signed off on a split of $425,000 seized as part of the judicial corruption investigation in Mississippi.he money was taken from former Hinds County District Attorney Ed Peters. Peters allegedly was paid $1 million on behalf of former Mississippi attorney Richard "Dickie" Scruggs to influence Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter in a civil case."
  • * 2/14/2010 Group: Lawsuit process unfair (Clarion Ledger) "But because Bailey and his firm have contributed thousands of dollars to state attorneys general - including $75,000 to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood - a business organization has made him the target of its campaign to shed light on the relationships between elected officials and trial lawyers who sue on behalf of states."
  • 2/14/2010 Aaron Broussard got bulk of private legal work, appointed by Jefferson Parish judges (NOLA) "There is no question that district judges have for many, many years appointed their friends and campaign contributors as curators for absentees," said Dane Ciolino, a Loyola University Law School professor specializing in legal ethics. "This is true all over the state, not just in Jefferson."
  • 2/13/2010 Being busy no excuse (Republican Herald) "The state Judicial Conduct Board has offered an extraordinary explanation for its failure to investigate what could be the worst judicial corruption case [Kids for Cash] in Pennsylvania history: It was too busy."
  • 2/13/2010 Is the stage set for judicial elections to become more partisan in Wisconsin? (Wisconsin State Journal) "'It used to be you had to conceal your party identity," said Milwaukee County Circuit Judge John Siefert, a former Democratic office holder whose 2008 federal lawsuit led to the new rules. "I don't think many people were fooled.'"
  • *2/13/2010 Appeals judge speaks (WTVA.com) "We asked the judge about what it will take to restore public confidence in the judicial system, after the recent bribery scandals involving imprisioned lawyer Dickie Scruggs and others."
  • 2/13/2010 Lawyer in bribery scheme gives up law license (USAToday) "Federal prosecutors say Cusimano, former state District Judge Wayne Cresap, attorney Victor Dauterive engaged in a scheme to allow inmates to get out of jail without paying any bond money. Cusimano allegedly took between $10,000 and $30,000 in kickbacks over a five-year period."
  • 2/12/2010 Judge to be reprimanded by Fla. Supreme Court (Florida AP) "The Judicial Qualifications Commission had found him guilty for jailing a man to punish his lawyer and for being insensitive to those asking for domestic violence injunctions."
  • 2/11/2010 Ethics complaint filed against Raleigh judge (The West Virginia Record) "she alleges Hutchison violated the Canons of Ethics by committing "felony intimidation" and "obstruction of justice" when he instructed a member of his staff, Paul Flanagan, by 'threatening her with unlawful arrest &/or imprisonment.'"
  • 2/10/2010  Don't ask, don't judge? (Washington Post)
  • 2/9/2010 Ethics commission bills come together (The New Mexico Independent) "As for confidentiality – the debate is over the public’s right to know versus the desire to protect officials from baseless attacks. Lopez’s bill – the one that leans most toward confidentiality – would require confidentiality during the process of an investigation, and violators could be subject to a criminal misdemeanor citation or a civil fine of up to $25,000."
  • 2/8/2010 Yingling files ethics complaint against judge (KUAMNews) "Yingling maintains the judge abused his authority when he failed to properly voir dire, or question potential jurors for the case that Unpingco determined was not high profile."
  • * 2/7/2010 Hal Neilson update - pleads not guilty, possible media leak explains exclusion from Scruggs case (YallPolitics.com) "However, multiple people who worked on the Scruggs investigation told The Oxford Enterprise that they were worried Nielson was a leak to the media. They feared Scruggs would catch wind of the investigation before they had all the evidence they needed to get convictions."
  • 2/7/2010 Editorial: Courts making it easier for money to do the talking (Sheboygan.press) "Deep-pocket influence in our elections and our judicial system got a whole lot stronger. Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted a rule that said no amount of money contributed to a candidate for election the court would automatically force the justice to withdraw from a case in which the contributor was involved.
  • 2/6/2010 Editorial: Let Luzerne be the catalyst (Philly.com) "Calls for drastic changes in how the state Judicial Conduct Board investigates and disciplines judges should not go unheeded. The board has received deservedly harsh criticism for its lackadaisical approach to complaints about two former Luzerne County judges who allegedly accepted bribes from operators of juvenile-detention facilities."
  • *2/4/2010 Court wants prosecutors’ response to [Paul] Minor by Feb. 19 (Sun Herald) "The distinction is important especially in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in which justices reasoned that a crime is not committed when campaign contributions are offered with intent to influence candidates by producing political outcomes contributors favor." In essence, Minor contends that it is not bribery if you are buying a judge.
  • 2/4/2010 El Paso judge convicted in sex, bribe case (AP) "A federal jury in El Paso convicted state District Judge Manuel Barraza of three corruption charges today, two counts of wire fraud and one court of lying to a federal agent. The El Paso judge was acquitted of one mail-fraud charge."
  • 2/4/201o Fla. justices order reprimand of Tallahassee judge (Florida AP) "TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Florida Supreme Court had agreed to publicly reprimand a Tallahassee judge for misleading campaign claims." 
  • 2/3/2010 Judicial watchdog criticized over Luzerne scandal (Philly.com) "HARRISBURG - A special panel on the Luzerne County juvenile-court scandal yesterday accused the state's judicial watchdog of failing to act on complaints about one of the judges at the center of the scandal."
  • 2/3/2010  Judicial Conduct Board grilled (timesleader.com) "HARRISBURG – Advocates lined up in the morning to call the state Judicial Conduct Board to task, with Pennsylvanians for Modern Justice Executive Director Lynn Marks telling the commission scrutinizing Luzerne County’s court corruption scandal that “there must be an accounting of the actions or inactions” of the board that had received complaints about the two judges years before corruption charges were filed."
  • 2/2/2010 Documents: Court staff may have accepted cash to change conviction cases (The Monitor) Texas "But according to a probable cause affidavit The Monitor obtained Tuesday, the informant who prompted the investigation initially told agents that Court Coordinator Daniel Vega had taken money in exchange for reducing a sentence in a case that ended in conviction."
  • 2/2/2101 'Original victims' cheated in Luzerne scandal? (Philadelphia Inquirer) "HARRISBURG - The state's victim advocate yesterday urged a special panel not to forget the thousands of "original victims" allegedly harmed by juveniles whose cases were heard by judges at the center of the Luzerne County criminal-justice scandal."
  • 2/2/2010 Judicial board: Questions remain about actions on Luzerne case (Penn Live.com) "Should the board, which prosecutes problem judges, have taken a bigger role in trying to stop former judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan as far back as 2006 when the board first received information about the alleged corruption?"
  • 2/2/2010 Disorder in the court: chief justice slams Justice Orie Melvin (Post Gazette) "On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that said the state Judicial Conduct Board must provide the Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice -- the state panel that is probing the Luzerne County kids-for-cash scandal -- with a confidential complaint that was made against former Common Pleas Judge Michael Conahan."
January
  • 1/30/2010 Secrecy will breed a toxic government in Utah (StandardNetLive) "If the judicial review panel is to be used as the model, then secrecy and exclusion of the public will prevail and the ability buy favors and influence will be protected."
  • 1/30/2010 Court: Conduct board must turn over Conahan complaint (Citizen's Voice) "The state Judicial Conduct Board must provide a state panel investigating the Luzerne County kids-for-cash corruption scandal with a confidential misconduct complaint against former Judge Michael T. Conahan, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday."
  • 1/28/2010 2 judges suspended for misconduct (Freep) "Election violations and alcohol tripped up two Michigan judges – one from Detroit and the other from the Upper Peninsula -- who will be suspended without pay, the Michigan Supreme Court said today."
  • 1/27/2010 Judge Claims Ex-Lover Stalked Her (MyFoxDC) "The Judge broke down in tears when she was asked why she had not taken out a civil protection order against Neuvell. She replied, "It’s the section of the court where I work and doing so would have let everyone know what was going on. My private life would become very public." If convicted of the three charges against her, Taylar Neuvell faces up to fifteen years behind bars"
  • *1/27/2010 Former Judge Wants Out Of Jail For Re-sentencing (WKRGTV) Teel was convicted in 2007 along with Paul Minor, one of Mississippi's most successful attorneys at the time, and former Harrison County Judge John Whitfield."
  • 1/26/2010 Commissioner admits to violating rules (WISHTV8)  "During that phone call, he is alleged to have threatened to subpoena the code enforcement officer and the board’s secretary to his courtroom."
  • 1/26/2010 Immigration judge misconduct gives asylee another day in court (Center for Investigative Reporting CIR) "The lack of transparency irritates attorneys and judges alike. The American Immigration Council's Wettstein and other immigration lawyers said complaints against immigration judges to the Executive Office seem to go into a "black hole," and, they added, getting notice of findings made by OPR also seems rare."
  • 1/26/2010 Proctor removed from bench (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) "Proctor, 47, is only the second judge ever removed from the bench — came as a result of Proctor’s involvement with a non-profit criminal rehabilitation group he started and for what the court said were improper relationships with probationers."
  • 1/26/2010 Judge Facing Allegations (Georgia Public Broadcasting) "he panel will address 16-counts against Fowler. They include allegations he used interpreters who could not speak Spanish, and allowed defendants to buy off their community service while he held on to money."
  • 1/26/2010 Unsettled juvie cases won’t be retried (TimesLeader.com) “We are closing a chapter on our juvenile justice system that I think everyone will agree was the worst in our county’s history.”
  • *1/25/2010  Minor makes another bid for freedom (Sun Herald) "Paul Minor’s attorneys are asking an appeals court to reverse his conviction in a judicial bribery case and free him from prison."
  • 1/25/2010 Corruption Creeps Into Judiciary System (The Bulletin) "Unlike the executive and legislative branches, the judicial branch of government operates largely out of sight — only invading the public consciousness in times of sensational trials or when corruption is uncovered."
  • 1/24/2010 Public still waiting for ex-county judges’ court date (TimesLeader.com) "Laurene Transue is looking forward to the day when former Luzerne County judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan appear in court to face charges related to the juvenile justice scandal that ensnared her daughter and thousands of other youths."
  • 1/24/2010 Corruption rampant in Pennsylvania coal country (Washington Examiner) Twenty-three people in Luzerne County — including a school superintendent, three county judges, four courthouse officials, and five school board members — have been charged so far in a variety of unrelated schemes."
  • 1/23/2010 Scruggs' ties to Blake detailed in book (The Greenwood Commonwealth) "Scruggs, a former Oxford attorney, is currently serving a seven-year sentence in federal prison for a scheme to bribe a judge. Five of his associates have been sentenced on various charges."
    The biggest remaining unresolved question, according to the book, is what will happen to Blake, who spent most of his working life in Greenwood as a big-time farmer with deep political connections.
  • 1/22/2010 Ex-judge who admitted bribery resigns law license (dailycomet.com) "NEW ORLEANS - A former St. Bernard Parish judge who pleaded guilty in a bribery scheme has permanently resigned his law license rather than face judicial discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court said Friday."
  • 1/22/2010 The "Killer" Keller Case: When Judges Go Bad (The Atlantic ) "Keller was so cavalier in handling the Richard matter--her conduct was so below that which even Texas expects from its appellate judges--that she was brought up on ethics charges before the State Commission on Judicial Ethics, which conducted a significant hearing last year."
  • 1/22/2010, Editorial: Catching rogue judges (The Philadelphia Inquirer) "In the aftermath of the Luzerne County judicial debacle, the investigative policies of the state Judicial Conduct Board are coming under some well-warranted scrutiny."
  • 1/21/2010 Unheralded changes to way judges judged alters 300-year-old verdict (Ontago Daily Times) "Can judges be trusted to oversee each other's behaviour and to respond appropriately to lapses of conduct? Is it acceptable for complaints about judicial behaviour to be dealt with in secret? After all, if it is not only important that justice is done but that it also is seen to be done in the courtroom, does that not also apply where it is a judge's actions that are at issue?"
  • 1/21/2010 Independent banned from filming Gilland's state ethics hearing - Jan. 20,(Horry Independent) "Horry County Chairwoman Liz Gilland (left) objects to the Carolina Forest Chronicle's videotaping of Wednesday's ethics commission hearing, which is a public meeting. (Video by Michael Smith | For The Independent)."
  • 1/21/2010  2 ethics panelists donated $150 (Topeka Capital Journal) "The fact two members of a panel reviewing an ethics complaint against former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline made campaign donations to Kline opponents is similar to attorneys appearing before a judge they haven't made campaign contributions to, the spokesman for the Kansas Supreme Court said Wednesday.
  • 1/19/2010, Conn. high court refuses to overturn records case (Hartford Courant) "The most recent conflict over open records in Connecticut dates to 2006, when Sullivan retired as chief justice after acknowledging he delayed the release of a ruling to keep certain court records secret. He said he was trying to help a fellow justice win confirmation to succeed him as chief justice."
  • 1/19/2010, Arrest another blemish on the county bench, (TimesLeader) "...a county senior judge led away in handcuffs..."
  • 1/18/2010, Proposed order on judicial donations remains up for debate (Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)  "Disqualifying a judge from participating in a proceeding solely because the judge's campaign committee received a lawful contribution would create the impression that receipt of a contribution automatically impairs the judge's integrity."
  • 1/15/2010, Arkansas circuit judge defends actions in probation program (Texarkana Gazette) "According to the panel, Proctor sent money to a robber he had sentenced to prison and had let the man live at his house for more than week. The commission also determined that Proctor gave rides in his personal vehicle to at least eight defendants. He was accused of violating judicial rules 16 times."
  • 1/15/2010, Pa. court-reform group: No deferred probes (Philly.com) "That judge, Michael T. Conahan, and another, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., were charged last year by federal authorities with taking $2.8 million in kickbacks to send juveniles to for-profit detention centers in what has become known as the "kids-for-cash" scandal."
  • 1/14/2010, Embattled judge argues against removal from bench (Arkansas News) "Following a hearing in late April and early May last year, the commission concluded Proctor violated judicial conduct rules in his relationship with Cycle Breakers, a nonprofit anti-addiction program he created in 2001."
  • 1/14/2010, Wertheimer Judicial Misconduct Hearing Set (NewJerseyToday.net) "Wertheimer, 67, was charged with violating ethics canons by creating the impression of religious and ethnic bias with a crude remark in court he allegedly made to two lawyers."
  • 1/14/2010, "NC5 Investigates" Receives Prestigious duPont Award (NewsChannel5.com) "'NewsChannel 5 Investigates: General Sessions Court' -- exposed judges and court employees abusing their positions, as well as a judicial system in which ticket fixing and political favoritism was rampant.'
  • 1/14/2010, Candidates for judge lining up (The Northwestern Georgian) "At least five candidates have surfaced as possible replacements for Ernest H. 'Bucky' Woods III, chief judge of the Mountain Judicial Circuit. . .Woods announced his resignation Dec. 29, less than two weeks after a story about Facebook postings documenting his potentially inappropriate contact with a 36-year defendant was published in The Clayton Tribune."
  • 1/12/2010, Pyle to host community discussion (Herald Bulletin) "Pyle was appointed to the seat in October when Judge Fredrick Spencer stepped down amidst an investigation for judicial misconduct."
  • 1/12/2010, Former N.Y. Judge Loses Bid to Upset Bribery Conviction (Law.com) "Citing "overwhelming" evidence of guilt, an appeals court in Brooklyn last week gave short shrift to ex-Brooklyn Justice Gerald P. Garson's arguments that his bribery conviction should be overturned."
  • 1/12/2010, Jefferson Parish Council should not make backroom deal on interim president appointment: An editorial (NOLA) "Residents are disappointed and angry about the corruption uncovered in Jefferson over the last decade -- from judicial corruption at the Gretna courthouse to the current scandal at the Yenni Building."
  • 1/12/2010, Judge to decide who gets judicial corruption money (WXVT15) "JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A federal judge will decide who gets $425,000 seized as part of the judicial corruption investigation that sent a Mississippi judge and several lawyers to prison."
  • 1/9/2010,  Attorneys judge area judges (Herald Tribune) "Sarasota County Judge Judy Goldman has a reputation among attorneys for running late, not being ready and being indecisive."
  • 1/9/2010, Melvin lets loose with call for judicial reform (Pittsburg Tribune Review) " One of Melvin's reform proposals is to establish an inspector general as a "judicial watchdog" to help educate people on how to file complaints about unethical behavior by judges."
  • 1/8/2010, C. Hunter King, former Orleans judge, loses authority to practice law (nola.com) "In a divided decision, the Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday disbarred C. Hunter King, the former judge booted off the Orleans Parish Civil District Court bench for having browbeaten staffers to campaign for him and then lying about it to investigators."
  • 1/8/2010, Political brouhaha 'Burgh's soap opera (Pittsburg Tribune-Review) "While campaigning for the high court last fall, Orie termed Luzerne County's juvenile court scandal the worst judicial misconduct in U.S. history. Two judges accused of taking kickbacks to send juvenile offenders to specific detention centers co-owned at the time by Gregory Zappala -- the former chief justice's son and the district attorney's brother."
  • 1/7/2010, Blackwood Rules TWRA Was Guilty Of "Judge Shopping," But Does Not Dismiss Case (The Chattanoogan.com) "Former General Sessions Court Judge Mike Carter said he led a reorganization of General Sessions Court in 1999 to try to prevent judge shopping. He said a system was set up designed to assign cases at random and keep all the cases of a defendant with the same judge."
  • 1/7/2010, Habersham DA says judge’s acts not criminal (Gainsvilletimes.com) "Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman said Wednesday he was not inclined to ask for assistance from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office in the case of Chief Judge E.H. "Bucky" Woods, who announced his resignation effective Jan. 15 in the wake of damaging reports of alleged misconduct."
  • 1/7/2010, Next for LP judge: Supreme Court (Herald Argus) "The Commission charges Evans-Koethe with one count of misconduct centers on her “conduct in deliberately withholding or misrepresenting pertinent information.” The other two counts relate to her request to a police officer that he destroy a note that was potential evidence."
  • 1/5/2010, Ex-Judge Can't Cite Court's 'Culture of Corruption' in Bid to Regain Job (ABA Journal) "Many defendants who may have been adversely affected by the alleged misconduct of two former Pennsylvania judges accused of wide-ranging corruption in office have won new trials or dismissals of the cases against them."
  • 1/5/2010, Sacramento judge censured over handling of trial (MercuryNews.com) "The commission determined that McBrien not only wrapped up the divorce case too quickly, but that he also improperly sought to investigate one of the parties involved in the case."
  • 1/5/2010, Civil rights hero caught in corruption probe to begin serving sentence, CNN, "Bobby DeLaughter -- the prosecutor who secured the conviction in the infamous Medgar Evers Mississippi murder case -- is himself now headed to prison."
  • 1/5/2010, Rotten apples guard The Bar's orchard, SunSentine.com, "This conflict of interest aids and abets the insurers to violate federal anti-trust laws and violate Florida insurance law"
  • 1/5/2010, Florom files documents with Supreme Court, North Platt Bulletin, "Lincoln County Judge Kent Florom filed documents with the Nebraska Supreme Court Monday arguing that a six-month suspension is a more appropriate punishment for his ethical violations than outright removal from the bench."
  • 1/5/2010, Pa. panel upholds Lokuta’s removal, TimesLeader.com, "The evidence was presented during several weeks of testimony at a 2008 trial prosecuted by the Judicial Conduct Board. "Dozens of witnesses testified for the JCB, painting Lokuta as a judicial bully.
  • 1/03/2010, DeLaughter reports to prison Monday, WLBT3, "JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Bobby DeLaughter, who as a prosecutor and judge put thousands of people behind bars, is expected to report to prison Monday."
  • 1/02/2010, Judicial Conduct Board tries to fight bad publicity from case against judges, Post Gazette.com, "HARRISBURG -- The state Judicial Conduct Board says it's tired of getting kicked around in the news media over a case of alleged judicial misconduct in northeast Pennsylvania, so it's launched a counterattack before the state Supreme Court."
  • 1/01/2010, Michigan Supreme Court: Direction reverses, divide remains, MLive.com, "DETROIT — The Michigan Supreme Court underwent a major transformation in 2009, when a Democrat who defeated a Republican incumbent set in motion a series of rulings that favor injured people with damage claims and tighten judicial ethics."
  • 1/01/2010, Nevada high court revises judicial conduct rules, MercuryNews, "One major change is that judges will now have an obligation to report misconduct by another judge or lawyer if they have information indicating a "substantial likelihood" of a violation."

December 2009
  • 12/31/2009, Judicial Misconduct: The Mice Guard The Cheese, The Wall Street Journal, "But in seven circuits, according to the Chron, chief judges took no public disciplinary action at all in the last decade, “meaning not a single federal judge faced any sanctions in 29 states with more than 875 full-time federal judges, despite thousands of complaints. . . (Click here and here for LB coverage of the Kent case.)"
  • 12/23/2009, Crooked judge Gerald Garson leaves halfway house; served 6 months less than minimum sentence, NewYorkDailyNews.com, "Garson - convicted of taking a $1,000 cash bribe and a $275 box of cigars to settle custody in a divorce case - was released early because of good behavior and completion of a substance abuse program."
  • 12/23/2009, Effort Begun to End Voting for Judges, New York Times, "A group of judges, political officials and lawyers, led by the retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, has begun a campaign to persuade states to choose judges on the basis of merit, rather than their ability to win an election." See 12/23/2009 Blog entry.
  • 12/23/2009,  From judge to jail, Times Union.com, "Indeed not. Mr. Spargo's crime, of trying to extort money from lawyers and solicit a bribe, ostensibly to pay the legal bills he ran up while he was under investigation by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, was too serious."
  • 12/22/2009, Decade 2000 - 2009: Remarks at Thurmond party land Lott in hot seat, The SunHerald.com, "Trent Lott’s now infamous remarks at U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond’s birthday, Tropical Storm Isidore, a judicial bribery probe and other stories garnered headlines in South Mississippi in 2002."
  • 12/22/2009, Judges Dominate Group’s Year-end “Restore Integrity Award”, PRWeb, "The award program administrators state 'we are delighted that judges comprise half of our year-end award recipients,' noting 'judges Lackey, Schack, and Spinner resisted powerful private interests without waiting for a groundswell of public support for their actions.'”
  • 12/22/2009, U.S. Court Urges Misconduct Probe Into Polanski Case, ABCNews, "Defense attorneys have alleged the original judge agreed to one sentence then improperly sought another, was unduly concerned about the public response and spoke to the media when he should not have. The defense also said the judge considered matters outside the court when deciding sentencing."
  • 12/21/2009, Judge sentenced to 30 days in official oppression case, Houston Chronicle, Harris County Criminal Court-at-law Judge Donald Jackson on Monday was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years' probation following his conviction on a charge of official oppression for allegedly trying to strike up a relationship with a drunken driving defendant in his court."
  • 12/21/2009, Former New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo Sentenced for Attempted Extortion and Bribery, PRNewswire, "WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe in Albany, N.Y., to 27 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for attempted extortion and bribery, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge John F. Pikus of the FBI's Albany office announced."
  • 12/20/2009, Justice Delayed, Dismissed, Denied, Philly.com, A four part series.  "In Philadelphia, America's most violent city, the criminal justice system is failing."
  • 12/21/2009, Despite years of problems, few changes in courts, Philly.com,  "A decade later, a 1986 series exposed a swamp of patronage, nepotism, judicial misconduct, and political influence."
  • 12/20/2009, Siemens bribery probe set to reopen, ekathimerini.com, Greece, “The whole case has the distinct aroma of corruption, lack of transparency and incorrect application of the law at the expense of the state,” said Papanikolaou in his report. [Judge] Zagorianos denies any wrongdoing."
  • 12/20/2009, Results kept secret when judges review peers, Houston Chronicle, "Most disciplinary reviews remain forever shrouded in secrecy to protect federal judges' privacy and ensure their reputations remain unsullied by scurrilous or absurd allegations from prisoners or disgruntled litigants."
  • 12/19/2009, Capital Region lawyers go to bat for Spargo; sentencing set for Monday, TimesUnion.com, "Former state Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo was convicted of trying to shake down lawyers, but that did not keep several Capital Region attorneys from writing character letters on his behalf as his sentencing approaches in federal court."
  • 12/19/2009, Signed and unconstitutional, JSOnline, "Gov. Jim Doyle has signed legislation requiring Wisconsin taxpayers to fund political campaigns for the state Supreme Court, exposing the state to an almost-certain lawsuit on First Amendment grounds."
  • 12/19/2009, Despite suspension, judge still gets paid, The Herald Argus, "LA PORTE — The state has paid almost $70,000 in salary to Superior Court 3 Judge Jennifer Evans-Koethe since she was suspended in May by the state Supreme Court."
  • 12/17/2009, Activists file complaint against judge, ADA, ABC13, "A local civil rights attorney has filed a judicial complaint against Judge Susan Brown saying that without probable cause she ordered Draycott taken into custody by law enforcement for the sample."
  • 12/17/2009, Analyst: Career Likely Over for Judge Accused in Oppression Case, MyFoxHouston,  "Jackson is accused of meeting a defendant who appeared before him in court outside of court and trying to establish a personal relationship with her."
  • 12/16/2009, Cherry Valley Judge Guilty Of Misconduct, North Country Gazette, "OTSEGO COUNTY—The Cherry Valley town justice has agreed to leave judicial office at the expiration of her term this month amidst state misconduct proceedings which had charged improper handling of court monies and the altering of court records."
  • 12/15/2009, Recordings can be used against judge, ElPasoTimes.com, "EL PASO -- Prosecutors can use 14 audio and video recordings as evidence against suspended state District Court Judge Manuel Barraza, who is accused of seeking bribes."
  • 12/15/2009, Florida ethics panel urges judges to unfriend lawyers from their Facebook pages, TampaBay.com, "Under the guidelines, judges can remain friends with nonlawyers and lawyers who do not appear in their court."
  • 12/15/2009,  Unethical US Judges Often Get Away With Misconduct, Newspaper Finds, ABA Journal, "Citizens filed 6,000 misconduct complaints against federal judges in the last decade, but only seven faced formal disciplinary action, a newspaper investigation has found."
  • 12/14/2009, Congress Reviews the Issue of Judicial Recusal, The Daily Censored, "The issue of recusal now being reviewed by the House Committee on the Judiciary, is but a subpart of greater issue which Congress must investigate based on  the evidence of a conspiracy of government attorneys and judges declaring themselves absolutely immune from suit for tortious and/or criminal obstruction of justice by denying access to an impartial jury trial and court to hold them accountable ..."
  • 12/14/2009, Tennessee Judges Often Judged in Secret, NewsChannel5.com, "Judicial officials will tell you that they're doing a good job of keeping Tennessee judges on the straight and narrow, but ethics advocates say they're using a double standard."
  • 12/13/2009, Judging the bad judges: Many stories go untold, Times Union.com, "Most judicial disciplinary reviews remain forever shrouded in secrecy to protect federal judges' privacy and ensure their reputations remain unsullied by scurrilous or even absurd allegations from prisoners or disgruntled litigants.
  • 12/12/2009, Jurist Pulls No Punches in Assessing Fast Eddie, New York Times, "'If a judge takes a bribe from a litigant he was going to rule for anyway, that’s still a crime, right?' he asked rhetorically."
  • 12/12/2009, N.J. Judge Charged With Misuse of Office in Dispute Over Vandalizing of Son's Car, New Jersey Law Journal, "An ethics complaint made public on Thursday alleges that Phillipsburg, N.J., Municipal Judge Dennis Baptista used the power of his office to gain an advantage in a private dispute with another parent over damage to his son's car."
  • 12/11/2009,  Bail bondsman testifies in hearing for Judge Thomas Porteous, NOLA.com,  "Porteous would set bail amounts not based on the defendant's flight risk or ability to pay, but rather in a way that would "maximize" the profits for Marcotte's firm, Baron said."
  • 12/09/2009, Prosecutors Seek Prison Term For Ex-Judge Spargo, North Country Gazette,  "ALBANY—-A federal prosecutor has recommended that convicted former state Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo be sentenced to nearly three and half years in federal prison for his convictions of attempted extortion and attempted soliciting of a bribe."
  • 12/09/2009, Court administrator, conduct board blame 'breakdown' of awareness, Citizens Voice.com, "The state court administrator conceded Tuesday that a "breakdown" occurred in the state's oversight of the Luzerne County court system, where former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. routinely violated juveniles' rights as he and former Judge Michael T. Conahan were allegedly pocketing $2.8 million from backers of for-profit juvenile detention centers."
  • 12/08/2009, Former Judge Elizabeth Halverson forced to pay $50,000 in damages Las Vegas Sun, "Former District Court Judge Elizabeth Halverson was ordered today to pay her former judicial assistant $50,000 after a judge found Halverson liable for defaming her."
  • 12/08/2009, Accused Judge Won’t Hire Lawyer, Times Record Online, "The panel recommended in May that Proctor be removed from the bench after finding he violated judicial conduct rules in his relationship with a nonprofit anti-addiction program he created and ran out of his courthouse office."
  • 12/08/2009, Judges hear results of Luzerne corruption, Philly.com, ""We trusted the judge," said Thomas Killino, a former assistant district attorney when asked why he did not challenge many of Ciavarella's actions, including illegally obtaining forms from young defendants waiving their right to a lawyer."
  • 12/07/2009, Should judges take donations from lawyers?Daily Herald,  "At issue is whether a campaign contribution could present a conflict of interest - or the appearance of one at least - if the donor ever argues a case in front of the candidate."
  • 12/05/2009, April Warren to get new sentencing hearing on claims of judicial misconduct by former Circuit Court Judge Michael Meares, thedailytimes.com, "The Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville returned a ruling on Dec. 1 remanding the case back to the trial court after finding that Meares violated judicial rules by not recusing himself from the case after having ex parte communication with a family member of the victim in the case."
  • 12/04/2009,  Complaint against Justice Gableman moves forward, The Badger Herald," The Wisconsin Supreme Court announced Thursday it will begin the proceedings involving a complaint against Justice Mike Gableman for a questionable campaign advertisement."
  • 12/04/2009, Pa. Attorney Identified in Judicial Corruption Case, Law.com, "A Kingston, Pa., attorney has been identified by sources and court documents as the person who provided Luzerne County Common Pleas Judge Michael T. Toole with 'things of value,' including free use of a New Jersey beach house, while continuing to litigate cases before the judge." including free use of a New Jersey beach house, while continuing to litigate cases before the judge.
  • 12/03/2009, FBI, DOJ refuse to investigate charges of judicial corruption, The Examiner, "For three years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have refused to investigate material evidence of a nationwide criminal racket that has allegedly infiltrated state and federal courts and is unlawfully manipulating and exploiting litigants in bankruptcy, family and probate courts."
  • 12/03/2009, Judge disciplined for misusing office, Signon San Diego, "SAN DIEGO COURTS — For the second time in a decade, the state judicial conduct agency has disciplined San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert C. Coates for using his stature as a judge for personal matters."
  • 12/01/2009, House Weighs Impeachment of Judge in an Unusual Move, Wall Street Journal, "The House Judiciary Committee has begun rare impeachment proceedings against a federal judge, who is accused of soliciting money from lawyers who appeared before him."