He’s not a judge yet, so we can’t bestow our coveted Judge of the Day award upon him. But he has secured the Democratic nomination for a judgeship, in Philadelphia — which means he has a decent shot of being elected.
Then again, whether Willie Singletary gets elected to the bench may depend upon how much the electorate appreciates irony. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Willie Singletary won a Democratic nomination for Traffic Court last week despite being a scofflaw of major proportions.
As of primary day, Singletary, 26, owed $11,427.50 for 55 violations, including reckless driving, driving without a license, careless driving, driving without registration, and driving without insurance.
In fact, a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest – a fact made public after the election by Bernard Strain, who lost in the Democratic primary for Traffic Court but who won a Republican nomination.
[Justice] Rivera-Soto is a New Jersey Supreme Court justice, and he now faces an ethics complaint charging that he abused his position when he contacted several local officials in an attempt to help his son, who was having trouble with a teammate on his high school football team.
In a rare action against a member of New Jersey’s highest court, the state’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which filed the complaint on Friday, accused Justice Rivera-Soto of violating court rules, including engaging in conduct “prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
So what’s the basis for the complaint? More discussion, after the jump.
State court judges are like bratty kids, or pets that aren’t housebroken. You can’t take them anywhere.
Because they’ve probably already been banned from where you were planning to take them. Even if the place in question is the courthouse.
Consider the Honorable Elizabeth Halverson (at right). From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
The District Court chief judge on Thursday banned District Judge Elizabeth Halverson from the county courthouse.
In an administrative order, Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle said Halverson jeopardized security at the courthouse this week by bringing her own two bodyguards into the courthouse and allowing them to bypass security checks.
As for why Judge Halverson needs two (2) bodyguards — and no, we won’t make the obvious joke — there’s quite a backstory, full of juicy judicial infighting. You can read all about it here.
And Judge Halverson isn’t the only state judge getting banned from public places these days. Meet the Honorable Fred Axley.
From the Legal Reader:
A Memphis judge is banned from a Florida resort. He is accused of sexually harassing an employee. Eyewitness News Everywhere uncovered this is not the first time Criminal Court Judge Fred Axley has been accused of sexual harassment….
Now he has been banned from a resort in Destin, FL, after an employee there says he sexually harassed her last week….
When we called the resort, an employee who asked not to be named, told us Axley had propositioned a massage therapist there for oral sex.
Wow, that’s quite a ways to go just to get your way on a motion to suppress. A 57-year-old Douglas County, Colorado judge and a 29-year-old female prosecutor in the same county have admitted to having sex on multiple occasions in the courthouse. From the Rocky Mountain News (via How Appealing):
As rumors of their romance became fodder for courthouse gossip, the complaint said, [Judge Grafton Minot] Biddle encouraged [prosecutor Laurie] Steinman to permanently delete messages they exchanged using their e-mail accounts at work.
“If people read this stuff, we’re dead,” Biddle told Steinman, according to the complaint.
The pair is accused of other ethical lapses, including Steinman prosecuting two cases in Biddle’s court without disclosing their relationship. Biddle gave Steinman feedback following one of the trials, which ended in an acquittal, the complaint said.
The judge resigned, the prosecutor was fired, and both face disciplinary action from the Bar. Here’s hoping that was some good, worth-losing-my-career-over lovemaking.
Houston lawyers who have tried cases before [Judge Elrod] say she has earned a reputation as a fair and smart state district judge.
“I think the most disappointing factor about her getting nominated is losing her off the bench in Harris County,” says Stephen Boutros, a Houston plaintiffs attorney.
“She often won’t rule in my favor, but it doesn’t matter,” says Boutros of Stephen Boutros LTD. “I would rate her the top judge I’ve ever been in front of. She understands the law. She can get a grasp of the issues in a matter of moments as if it were her own case.”
Boutros believes Elrod has the potential to follow in the footsteps of [Judge Patrick] Higgonbotham — a seasoned and respected judge who was a moderating force on the 5th Circuit — a court known as one of the most conservative federal appellate courts in the nation.
“She’s going to be an absolute centrist,” Boutros says. “She is intellectually honest and she’s not an ideologue.”
Judge Elrod sounds like a great pick. Our only disappointment: that President Bush didn’t nominate this Jennifer Elrod instead.
(But then again, in terms of qualifications for the Fifth Circuit, a JD from Harvard Law is probably more relevant than a 36D from Boobs ‘R Us.)
P.S. To those of you who think that we overuse the term “diva,” please note that we have NOT applied the term to Jennifer Elrod. Based on what we’ve heard, she’s extremely nice and down-to-earth, with a great sense of humor. 190th District Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod Nominated to 5th Circuit [Texas Lawyer] Earlier: Some Judicial Nomination News
We’re giving this guy our “Judge of the Day” award, ’cause there’s no telling what he might do if he didn’t get it. From the Florida Times-Union:
A Jacksonville judge pulled a handgun in his courtroom after a spectator attacked a defendant.
The fracas occurred Friday after a crime victim’s father hurdled a railing and punched the handcuffed defendant.
Circuit Judge John Merrett then handed his gun to a clerk for safekeeping when he realized bailiffs had subdued the attacker. He met with the man in his chambers and later ordered him released without bail even though he was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors.
Judge Merrett is awesome. When he ran for office, he pledged that he would “do whatever was necessary to give defendants and the public speedy trials.” And that includes whipping out a pistol in open court!
Of course, a whiny PD complained about Judge Merrett exercising his Second Amendment rights:
Most judges in Duval County have concealed weapons permits and have gone through firearms training even if they don’t carry a gun. Merrett, a former assistant state attorney, said he has had extensive firearms training.
Duval County Public Defender Bill White said the incident was scary enough for lawyers in the courtroom that he plans to talk to the chief judge about disarming the judges.
Thankfully, this effort probably won’t get much traction:
The chief judge said he encourages all the judges to receive firearms training and obtain concealed weapons permits.
Let’s hope this trend of judges packing heat under their robes continues. There are some encouraging signs. We hear that a certain elderly female judge, in the Southern District of New York, has a fondness for firearms (and carries a concealed weapon). Fantastic!
P.S. We can’t say we’re entirely surprised by this story. Doesn’t Judge Merrett look like a bearded version of Scott Savol, the former American Idol contestant who was charged with misdemeanor assault? Judge Pulls Pistol in Court [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)] Merrett takes lead as new judge in the 4th circuit [Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)]
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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