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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A prominent U.S. appeals court judge announced his retirement Monday days after women alleged he subjected them to inappropriate sexual conduct or comments.
Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a statement that a battle over the accusations would not be good for the judiciary. He said he’ll step down, effective immediately.
The Washington Post reported last week that at least 15 women made allegations against Kozinski that go back decades. The allegations include inappropriate touching and lewd comments.
Kozinski said while speaking in a “candid way” with male and female law clerks, “I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace,” the statement said. “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.”
Leah Litman, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, told the Post that the judge talked about having just had sex and pinched her side and leg at a restaurant the night before they appeared together on a panel at her school in July.
Christine Miller, a retired U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge, said Kozinski grabbed her breasts during a car ride in 1986 after a legal community function in the Baltimore area. She said it came after she declined his offer to go to a motel and have sex.
A lawyer who was not identified said Kozinski approached her when she was alone at a legal event in Los Angeles in 2008 and kissed her on the lips and gave her a bear hug with no warning.
The newspaper said the woman’s husband confirmed the incident and said the couple didn’t think they could do anything because of the judge’s position.
The Post reported last week that six former clerks or more junior staff members accused Kozinski of inappropriate behavior, including showing them pornography.
Kozinski, 67, was chief judge of the 9th Circuit, the largest federal appeals court circuit in the country, from 2007 to 2014. He is known for his irreverent opinions, and his clerks often win prestigious clerkships at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit has opened a misconduct inquiry that was transferred Friday to the Judicial Council of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
Kozinski’s retirement leaves five seats open on the 9th Circuit, with two more judges already having announced their intention to retire next year. That gives President Donald Trump potentially seven seats to fill on the largest and most liberal appeals court in the country.
Even if all those judgeships are filled, however, Democratic appointees still will maintain a healthy majority on the court with 17 of the 29 seats.
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HOW DID AMERICA’S LIBERAL JUDGES BECOME SUCH CORRUPT PERVERTS?
A Long Island judge who police say repeatedly broke into his neighbor’s home to steal her underwear has confessed to snatching panties on multiple occasions, even though he has pleaded not guilty.
Still, Suffolk County District Judge Robert Cicale has been removed from the bench and is facing up to 15 years in prison.
Cicale was arrested on burglary charges and appeared in court Friday morning.
The judge is a married father of three young children, and he is accused of sneaking into a home across the street and stealing the underwear of a 23-year-old woman who lives there with her parents. He reportedly knew the girl from when she worked as an intern at the Islip Town Attorney’s Office, when he used to work there.
In his confession, he said he stole the underwear upon feeling “urges.” He admitted that on several occasions, he entered the home, opened her hamper and took underwear.
Cicarle was taken into custody after an incident that happened around 9 a.m. Thursday, when the young woman was alone. Prosecutors said she was sleeping but woke up when she heard the door open. She called out, “Hello?” and that’s when she saw Cicale at the doorway.
Authorities say he turned around and ran away, and the victim closed and locked the door and called her mother, who called 911. Responding officers say they saw Cicale walking up to a different house and pretending to knock on the door.
They approached him because he matched the description of the person the victim described. They reportedly found several pairs of soiled women’s underwear on him, which the victim identified as her own.
Cicale has written letter of apology to victim and also provided a written confession.
“This is highly disturbing,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini said. “This is an individual who swore to uphold the law. He violated it in a very serious way. The message here from both the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is that no one is above the law, and we’ll prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”
A Nassau County district judge presided over Cicale’s case to prevent a conflict of interest. Cicale is expected to receive mental health treatment.
“His reputation throughout the court is stellar,” defense attorney William Wexler said. “Every judge, every lawyer respects him, and we just have to see how the process plays out.”
Wexler went on to say that the judge’s wife is standing by her husband through this process.
Cicale was ordered held on $50,000. Cicale was “temporarily relieved of his judicial duties” and the matter was referred to the state’s Court of Appeals to determine whether to suspend the jurist, court system spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
A judge also issued a restraining order that prevents Cicale from contacting the victim and, as a condition of his bail, Cicale will also be required to wear a GPS monitor, Sini said.
Neighbors were shocked when they learned of the judge’s arrest.
“From what I heard, it’s a little perverted maybe,” neighbor William Bloom said. “And that never makes sense to me.”
Cicale is a graduate of St. John’s Law School, a former legal aide attorney and a former Islip Town Attorney elected to the District Criminal Court in 2016.
“He’s a family man, he’s always outside playing basketball with his kids,” neighbor Jay Moceri said. “He’s always jogging. He’s always friendly to everybody in the neighborhood.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
AMERICA’S CROOKED, BRIBED, LEFT WING JUDGES ARE IN EVERY COURT IN THE NATION
Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s transparency gaps were brought up during a hearing on high court ethics reform by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who asked why the Democrats didn’t levy the same scrutiny against her as they did with Justice Clarence Thomas.
Kennedy’s questions came during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ethics after reports revealed Thomas failed to disclose paid trips he went on with wealthy GOP donor Harlan Crow. Democrats have called on Congress to impose ethics rules, while Republicans large
“Justice Jackson made multiple amendments three days after President Biden nominated her. Not one senator brought that up during her confirmation hearings. Not one of my colleagues here walked into her hearings with the buckets of mud that they’ve thrown against Justice Thomas. Not one,” Kennedy said.
In September, Jackson disclosed that she had “inadvertently omitted” information about self-employed consulting income that her spouse received from consulting on medical malpractice cases. Her revisions also revealed new information about reimbursements for travel and board memberships stemming back to at least 2014, according to Bloomberg.
Senator John Kennedy perfectly sums up Democrat attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court:
“My democratic colleagues should fill out a hurt feelings report and move on, for the sake of the Constitution!” pic.twitter.com/daavj5BrkP
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 2, 2023
Kennedy then blasted the news reports surrounding Thomas, saying that “some Democrats and their media allies” have “attempted hit pieces” on the longest-serving sitting justice and his Republican-appointed colleagues.
The Louisiana senator was referring to at least two separate reports from ProPublica that highlighted Thomas’s failure to disclose travel gifts from Crow and one Georgia property transaction the donor had with the justice, though Thomas recently said he didn’t report the sale because he didn’t make a profit. Last week, Politico reported Justice Neil Gorsuch was the joint owner of a Colorado property he sold to a major law firm CEO.
“This is untenable,” committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Tuesday. “Ethics cannot simply be left to the discretion of the nation’s highest court. The court should have a code of conduct with clear and enforceable rules.”
Durbin had called on Chief Justice John Roberts to testify for the hearing but had his request denied last week. Roberts issued a letter signed by all the justices that included “a Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices to which all of the current Members of the Supreme Court subscribe.”
The high court has repeatedly maintained it consults a code of conduct followed by lower court federal judges. The main difference is that the already advisory code for lower court judges is hardly enforceable for the high court, given the limited number of nine justices, legal experts have said.
Earlier in the hearing, ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called the recent reports on the justices a “concentrated effort by the Left to delegitimize the court and to cherry-pick examples to make a point.”
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