Sunday, February 18, 2007
The problems that can arise in working with one's spouse resulted in the censure of a judge by the Wyoming Supreme Court. The judge had hired an employee to work with him when he was in the county attorney's office. Romance ensued. He married the employee and made her his chief clerk after taking the bench. The judge treated staff and litigants with dignity and respect; his wife did not. As a result, a private censure of the judge for failure to supervise his staff was imposed and seemed to help the problem for a period of time.
Notwithstanding the private censure, the inability of the wife to behave resurfaced. The allegations against her included mistreatment of staff and litigants, letting a dog run loose in court, letting the telephone ring in open court without answering and working a swimming pool job that cut into her court work. Staff called her "Judge Jackie" which was not meant to be a compliment. The judge referred to her as "she who is to be feared."
Solution: the spouse no longer holds the chief clerk position; the judge has retired. (Mike Frisch)