FULLERTON (CBS) — An Orange County Superior Court judge was removed from office Wednesday by a state oversight panel for helping friends and relatives get out of traffic tickets for minimal costs.

Judge Richard W. Stanford Jr. had previously apologized for his conduct, but the state Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that his pattern of misconduct was particularly egregious and tarnished the image of a fair and impartial judiciary.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports one legal analyst says the case is a classic example of the slippery slope that leads to any abuse of power.

“I think it started innocently enough with his trying to do a favor, but so often how lawyers and judges get in trouble, something that starts innocently becomes a pattern, and here it was something that no judge should do,” said UC Irvine law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky.

The Commission on Judicial Performance filed a complaint last year against Stanford, who works in the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

In most of the cases, Stanford arranged to have most fees and fines waived for relatives and friends who received tickets, except for a $51 traffic school fee, in exchange for guilty pleas and referral to traffic school, according to the commission’s complaint.

During a disciplinary hearing in July of last year, Stanford’s attorney, Paul S. Meyer, argued that the judge did not realize he was committing an ethical breach.

Stanford later agreed to pay the difference the state would have received in fees and fines and donated an equal amount to charity while apologizing for his conduct, the attorney said.

Meyer also said the judge declined to help other people with more serious legal matters, including a brother-in-law who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

(©2012 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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 (5)
  1. tngilmer says:

    This is a classic example of Black Robe Disease. All judges should be term and salary limited and forced to work in a non-legal job after serving on the bench like real people.

  2. Pastor Bill Nieporte says:

    Also, if you have suggestions on how to make such a ministry self-sufficient, that would be great. The cost of being online is steep as you know. I have many older folks in the congregation who do not understand the internet and think is a waste of time. If it paid for itself – or even turned a profit – that would set their minds at ease. But you have to be careful not to get connected to anything that seems unethical.

  3. Pastor Bill Nieporte says:

    On my site and in my church (http://pattersonavenuebaptist.com) we’ve been addressing topics like how to effectively communicate the gospel in a secular world; how we deal with a religiously pluralistic world (we are in a predminately jewish neighborhhood, have many Muslim business owners, and have a hindu place of worship just a few miles up the road – but the majority in our community have never been in any church – nor their parents before them); plus we are exploring how to help the incresing numbers of poor and homeless ion the Richmond city limits.

  4. Bill Nieporte says:

    Bill Nieporte here. I notice your connection to members of the Nieporte clan. I grew up with a step-father and have had little connection with Nieprotes and have never met my biological father. Anyways, trying to build connections and I invite you to visit my blog.

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