Judge Resignations Over 10 Years:
New York 242, California 34.

 

In response to testimony at a recent California Assembly budget hearing from California's Commission on Judicial Performance Director and Chief Counsel, Victoria Henley, we took a closer look at the actual number of judges resigning, retiring, or leaving office for other reasons while complaints were pending against them. Henley argued that New York reports the numbers by the number of complaints resulting in a discipline, while California reports the number of judges. By way of example, Henley testified that "all twenty-one of the resignations with charges pending in New York may have involved the same judge. In California we only count them by judge."

Both California and New York report their numbers by "complaint dispositions." Therefore, we believe our initial analysis is correct absent further explanation from the commission. However, even if we report the numbers as Henley would like - by number of judges - the disparity is still staggering: 242 for New York, 34 for California. This is a factor of seven; we previously reported a factor of ten. Either way, the overall picture does not change.

Analysis
To get 242, we counted the number of judges resigning, retiring, or leaving office for other reasons (failed to run or win reelection, etc.). These numbers are reported by judge under the "Actions Taken" section of the reports - specifically under the subsections entitled "Preliminary Inquiries and Investigations" and "Formal Written Complaints," typically near the beginning of the Annual Reports.

To the right is a table we generated from the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct 2006 - 2015 Annual Reports (reporting years 2005 - 2014).

We wrote about this finding in a recent op-ed published in the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals.