Panel: reckless driving 'serious disregard' for ethics

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge who was charged with drunken driving and ended up pleading no contest to reckless driving was publicly admonished Tuesday by the state agency that monitors the conduct of bench officers.

Judge Melissa N. Widdifield has been on the bench since August 2007 and currently hears cases involving involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations.

According to the state Commission on Judicial Performance, Widdifield “drove her vehicle in a reckless manner while under the influence of alcohol” in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2009. Her blood-alcohol level was measured at .09 percent, according to the commission.

Two months later, Widdifield was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while having a .08 percent or higher blood alcohol level. In May, she entered a no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless driving, according to the commission.

Widdifield’s action “evidences a serious disregard of the principles of personal and official conduct embodied in the California Code of Judicial Ethics,” according to the commission, which added that public confidence in jurists is “eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct.”

A Superior Court representative was not immediately available for comment.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (13)
  1. primo says:

    the DA sure treated that juidge good in court..i wonder what it cost her ???

  2. david the foodie says:


  3. Charlie says:

    The law is not being applied equally,there’s a double standard for every law;I would love to see this judge sitting in jail at least for a couple of weeks.

    1. alan hart says:

      The law is equal. Anyone with a .09 can plea down to reckless driving.

  4. HamBone says:

    Reckless Driving, under the influence, thankful it was Wreck less driving and no one killed

  5. MMcK says:

    A crooked DA and a load of dunnage judge, dont ya just love our Legal System. is justice for some if your connected or if your a celiberity all others beware.

    1. Lynwood Sibley says:

      and cooley ran for attorney general

      1. patti says:

        thankfuly he did not win!

  6. RickyRibono says:

    I thought that if you drive in California with a blood alcohol level .08 or greater that it is presumed you are driving under the influence? Why was she convicted of lesser charges?

  7. Crooked Public Officials says:

    So this Judge has a DUI, and 2 years later gets another DUI but a reduced charge to Wreckless Driving?

    Special Privilege or what? Goes to show how Unfair our Judicial System really is in America..

  8. Buck says:

    I told y’all judges think they b god. When there term is up vote them out. Judges should be one term only. Them back to real world without financial help. Get a job dang it.

  9. Lynwood Sibley says:

    Judges should be tried by a panel of citizens not by like minded crooks

  10. Lynwood Sibley says:

    The commission on Judicial ethics is a paper tiger as they do not do what they
    are supposed to do as they are composed of Judges and have a code of ethics
    of not coming against Judges unless they are like Richard Pine and want to
    really change the good old boy system –the commission is nothing more than a illusion of Justice as filed with them and they have a come back form letter
    excusing the Judge of any and all crimes

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