Judicial council takes no action against former Judge Alex Kozinski

Nearly eight weeks after a federal judicial council received a sexual harassment complaint against California-based U...

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 10:03 AM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 10:03 AM

Nearly eight weeks after a federal judicial council received a sexual harassment complaint against California-based US Appeals Court Judge Alex Kozinski, the council said Monday that it was dismissing the grievance because Kozinski had stepped down in December.

The council said it conducted no investigation and was not reaching a ruling the merits of the complaint.

But it maintains the charges are serious.

"We recognize that the complaint references grave allegations of inappropriate misconduct, which the federal judiciary cannot tolerate," the judicial council of the 2nd Circuit wrote.

However, since Kozinski has retired, the council has dropped the matter.

The Washington Post reported in December that six former clerks or junior staffers claimed that Kozinski subjected them to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments. Other women subsequently came forward.

The 67-year-old Kozinski is eligible for a $217,600 annual pension, a figure based on the standard appellate judge salary, according to David Sellers, spokesman for the Administrative Office of the US Courts.

Susan Estrich, Kozinski's lawyer, declined to comment.

When he announced his retirement on December 18, Kozinski said in a statement, "I've always had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike. 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."

A recent CNN investigation found that judges who are subject to a serious complaint often leave the bench, immediately halting any investigation.

The CNN report also found that, overall, very few of the more than one thousand complaints filed each year against federal judges are deeply investigated. Seldom are judges reprimanded, suspended or subject to other disciplinary action.

University of Pittsburgh law professor Arthur Hellman, who has studied the judiciary's complaint system, said, "By resigning before the investigation even began, Kozinski avoided any kind of inquiry."

It is unlikely any congressional committee would take up the Kozinski case, Hellman added, questioning why members of Congress would take the time to look specifically into the conduct of an individual who has left the bench. However, he said, lawmakers may want to look more broadly at judicial sexual harassment and other misconduct.

Sending copy of four-page report to Congress

The council said that "given the seriousness of the conduct alleged," it was asking the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the US Judicial Conference to forward a copy of the order "to any relevant Congressional committees for their information." It was not clear what the judicial council hoped would come of that action, particularly because Kozinski has already stepped down.

Congress may forcibly remove a judge from office through the process of impeachment and conviction. The House of Representatives, which is responsible for any impeachment, typically begins a proceeding only on a recommendation of the Judicial Conference.

Only three times in the past 30 years have federal judges been impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate, for issues related to bribery and perjury.

Previous complaints against Kozinski

After the Kozinski harassment claims emerged, Chief Justice John Roberts established a working group to examine the judiciary's procedures for protecting court employees from misconduct. The group is scheduled to report back to Roberts in May.

Kozinski underwent a separate disciplinary process in 2009 after the Los Angeles Times reported 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.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit judicial council that pursued the 2009 claim noted that, "The judge recognizes that some members of the public, upon learning he possessed the material, may have the misimpression that he has demeaning or disdainful attitudes toward women, creating in the minds of some people what he called 'a highly distorted picture' of him. The judge testified, 'It is especially unfortunate that this happened on account of images and videos that I care absolutely nothing about.'"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352891

Reported Deaths: 7597
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24704451
DeSoto23619283
Harrison21395335
Jackson15984255
Rankin15957294
Madison11224227
Lee10952180
Jones9316171
Forrest9136163
Lauderdale8211244
Lamar736590
Lowndes7253152
Lafayette6658125
Washington5681140
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Oktibbeha506598
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Warren4828128
Panola4823112
Marshall4759106
Pontotoc455773
Neshoba4487181
Hancock444488
Union441479
Monroe4390138
Lincoln4247116
Pike3771114
Leflore3696125
Alcorn362474
Tate356188
Sunflower351794
Adams350690
Scott349177
Yazoo344877
Copiah333569
Simpson329191
Itawamba318581
Tippah316569
Coahoma316385
Covington305584
Prentiss304163
Leake291976
Marion291882
George285851
Wayne282345
Grenada272488
Newton269264
Tishomingo241670
Stone240038
Winston238484
Jasper236248
Attala229974
Chickasaw222760
Clay204654
Holmes204374
Clarke190480
Tallahatchie185842
Smith184936
Calhoun184632
Yalobusha174241
Walthall151249
Lawrence146426
Greene144735
Amite140144
Noxubee137635
Perry137038
Montgomery134644
Carroll127531
Webster125132
Jefferson Davis121334
Tunica116627
Benton108425
Claiborne106131
Kemper105029
Humphreys102533
Franklin88724
Quitman86819
Choctaw83619
Wilkinson79632
Jefferson72328
Sharkey52018
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 595816

Reported Deaths: 11561
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson865251591
Mobile50436872
Madison37905534
Shelby27652260
Tuscaloosa27422465
Montgomery26428628
Baldwin26175329
Lee17414181
Calhoun15549334
Morgan15265291
Etowah15106372
Marshall13248236
Houston12297294
Elmore11006220
St. Clair10903252
Limestone10867158
Cullman10643206
Lauderdale10374255
DeKalb9603193
Talladega9032188
Walker7873288
Autauga7635114
Blount7463140
Jackson7450117
Colbert6780142
Coffee6515132
Dale5803117
Covington4864125
Russell483543
Chilton4828117
Franklin465681
Tallapoosa4591156
Escambia457583
Chambers4007125
Dallas3756164
Clarke374663
Marion3490107
Pike336979
Lawrence3280100
Winston301973
Bibb293766
Geneva293083
Marengo263867
Barbour254361
Pickens247962
Butler243672
Hale236979
Fayette228565
Henry218845
Monroe206941
Randolph203844
Cherokee201748
Washington189439
Macon172252
Crenshaw171758
Clay167659
Cleburne161845
Lamar152638
Lowndes146555
Wilcox132731
Bullock126542
Conecuh123032
Coosa119729
Perry111228
Sumter110933
Greene99937
Choctaw64525
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