Six weeks later, still no report in Alex Kozinski investigation

Six weeks after US Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, judici...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 8:53 AM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 8:53 AM

Six weeks after US Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski resigned in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, judicial officials have yet to reveal the fate of a misconduct complaint that began with news reports based on claims from women who worked for the judge.

In the past, judicial authorities have dismissed a pending grievance when a judge left the bench in the middle of a misconduct investigation. That might be what ultimately happens with the 67-year-old Kozinski.

But the process might not be as clear-cut for this prominent jurist who was also subject to a misconduct complaint in 2009 involving computer pornography.

Karen Greve Milton, the executive for the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, which is handling the review of Kozinski, confirmed that ordinarily a misconduct complaint would be dismissed once a judge left the bench but said she could not comment on the Kozinski matter until the judicial council's resolution of the complaint becomes public.

Lawyer Susan Estrich, who represents Kozinski, declined to comment.

"I would have expected an order finding that the proceeding should be concluded based on an intervening event," said University of Pittsburgh law professor Arthur Hellman, referring to Kozinski's resignation and the judiciary's practice of halting any investigations when a so-called intervening event occurs.

Hellman, who has tracked misconduct complaints through the years, said, "It's hard to figure out what might be going on, since he resigned before any investigation began." Hellman noted that on rare occasions, after a judge has resigned, a matter might be referred to the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section.

A CNN investigation found that very few of the more than 1,000 complaints filed each year against federal judges are deeply investigated and seldom are judges reprimanded, suspended or subject to other disciplinary action.

CNN also found that the judiciary's process often kicks into gear only after news media brings potential misbehavior to light, which is what happened in the case of Kozinski, based in Pasadena, California, on the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He was appointed to the lifetime seat in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan.

The Washington Post reported on Dec. 8 that six former clerks or junior staffers claimed that Kozinski subjected them to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. One former clerk said he summoned her to his office to show her pornography on his computer. Soon after that news story, other former law clerks went public with complaints of sexual improprieties. Soon thereafter, 9th Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas ordered an inquiry into Kozinski based on the articles -- the complaint was then sent to the New York City-based 2nd Circuit.

Since then, the 2nd Circuit's 13-member judicial council has been handling the matter.

"I've always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike," Kozinski wrote in a statement upon resigning last month. "In doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace. It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent. For this I sincerely apologize."

Kozinski underwent a separate disciplinary process in 2009 after a Los Angeles Times story that Kozinski was maintaining a publicly accessible website of sexually explicit images. He publicly apologized and took the server offline. A judicial council admonished Kozinski but concluded no further discipline was warranted.

During that 2009 investigation, Kozinski testified for nearly three hours under oath, according to the council's final report.

"The judge testified that he could not recall ever downloading" some of the materials in question," according to that June 2009 filing. "The judge testified that he does not visit and has no interest in pornographic websites." He also testified that he did not sent the sexually explicit files to anyone.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 80°
Columbus
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather