Ethics,  Judges

A Conspiracy Theorist’s Delight

In In re Complaint of Judicial Misconduct, case no. 07-89012 (Judicial Council of the 9th Cir. May 14, 2008), the complainant was an attorney who was also a plaintiff in a civil action. He filed a complaint against both the district judge and the magistrate judge to whom the district judge referred the civil case. The title of this post relates to the charges made by the complainant.

The complainant alleged misconduct regarding both judges with respect to discovery rulings and their decisions to continue with the case following his filing of a notice of appeal. Chief Judge Kozinski’s order characterizes these charges as challenges to the rulings themselves. Complainant had his chance to appeal, and did so. He lost. He can’t collaterally attack the rulings in the guise of a judicial misconduct complaint.

Complainant also alleged that the judges “fixed” the civil case to cover up corruption in the state judicial system. But the allegations related to the complainant’s suspension from practice are where the conspiracy theory really started to fly.

Complainant was suspended from practice by the supreme court of his home state, which prompted the district judge to order the complainant to show cause why he should not also be suspended from practice before the district court. Complainant claimed that the district judge lied about the misfiling of the complainant’s response to the OSC, refused to open a docket number for the proceedings, falsified the docket once open, hid evidence, intercepted complainant’s mailings of his state court records sent to other federal judges in the district, tore and returned documents to plaintiff in order to intimidate him, and “framed” complainant and “fixed” complainant’s suspension from practice before the district court in retaliation for complainant’s exposure of corruption in the state judicial system. Finally, he claimed that the magistrate engaged in misconduct for refusing to report the district judge.

That’s quite a story. The order disposes of the charges in less then seven pages, concluding that none of them are supported by objectively verifiable evidence sufficient to raise an inference that misconduct occurred.

But there does appear to be some misconduct here: by the complainant. The order chastises him thus:

Complainant is an attorney, so he should know better than to file such an obviously frivolous and abusive complaint. He has wasted considerable judicial resources for no purpose whatsoever. The standards for filing a complaint of judicial misconduct have been established for decades, [citation], and complainant most likely knew, and certainly should have known, that the complaint he filed comes nowhere near stating a viable claim of judicial misconduct. [Citations.]

He is ordered to show cause why he should not be sanctioned. Good luck.