Calif. Judge Removed from Bench Because of Expense Issue
A former prosecutor serving as an Orange County, Calif., judge must be removed from office, the state Commission on Judicial Performance has decided in a 7-3 ruling made public yesterday.
The panel said in its opinion that Superior Court Judge Kelly MacEachern “engaged in willful misconduct” by seeking government reimbursement for a lengthier stay in San Diego in connection with a 2006 judicial education conference than her actual attendance at one class in the program required, reports the Los Angeles Times. MacEachern apparently tried to register in advance for additional classes, but was unsuccessful.
“The lack of integrity manifested by her misconduct, compounded by her lack of candor in response to the commission’s investigation and deceitful testimony under oath before the masters compels our conclusion that removal is necessary to protect the public and maintain public trust in the integrity of the judiciary,” the commission writes in the opinion. Dissenters said one “isolated instance of wrongdoing” that did not affect litigants justified a severe reprimand, but not MacEachern’s removal from the bench.
She is the first judge in Orange County and the 24th in the state to be ordered removed from the bench since 1960. A lawyer for MacEachern says she will appeal the commission’s decision.