Judge who took 2 business-card holders while at lawyer dinner agrees to resign
A California family court judge who admitted taking two business card holders from the City Club of San Francisco has agreed to resign.
The California Commission on Judicial Conduct censured the judge, Michael S. Williams of Napa County, as part of an agreement in which the judge will resign in December 2017 and will never again hold judicial office. He will take a leave from the bench beginning on Oct. 20. The Associated Press covered the development; a press release is here (PDF).
The incident occurred at a “judge’s night” dinner in March 2016 held by the Northern California chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, according to the stipulated facts (PDF). Williams took two business card holders on the way out of the event that contained business cards of the City Club’s managers.
The card holders were consistent with the City Club décor, and were worth between $30 and $50 each.
After he was informed that he was caught on video taking the card holders, Williams returned them with a letter of apology. “I have no excuse but that I had a couple of glasses of wine and was not thinking of what I was doing,” Williams wrote.
He also informed the Commission on Judicial Performance about his “unexplainable impulse” that had caused him to take the card holders. He later said he wanted to use the card holders to display some joke business cards that he and a friend had printed about 40 years ago and that he recently found.
Williams told the Napa Valley Register in June that he is “deeply disappointed” in himself and “profoundly embarrassed.”
Typo corrected in second paragraph on July18.