Veteran California appellate judge is removed from office by panel for ’15-year history of misconduct’
Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson, 59, was removed from office, the Commission on Judicial Performance announced Tuesday
He was removed from his office at 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles for a litany of inappropriate behavior including unwanted touching of [female colleagues] and for proposing an affair to his colleague
Johnson was first formally charged in January 2019 with allegations of misconduct that went back 15 years and involved nearly 20 women
At least 16 of the women were lawyers who worked for the court, a county prosecutor and three fellow appellate justices
Charging documents said he proposed an affair to his colleague Justice Victoria Chaney and touched her breasts in a years long pattern of harassment
The panel recommended his removal from office for 18 acts of prejudicial misconduct involving more than 40 proven allegations
Johnson denied the allegations, his attorney said they intend to ask the California Supreme Court to review the process
A California appellate court judge has been removed from office following a catalog of complaints of sexual misconduct, unwanted touching and undignified behavior, amassed over a decade and half.
With a long list of harassment levelled against him that includes proposing an affair to one of his colleagues, Jeffrey W. Johnson, 59, of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles was removed from office, it was announced Tuesday.
The Commission on Judicial Performance said that the appellate court justice’s misconduct was aggravated by his lack of candor throughout the proceedings.
The panel said he should be removed for 18 acts of prejudicial misconduct involving more than 40 proven allegations.
Johnson was first formally charged in January 2019 with allegations of misconduct that went back 15 years and named at least 16 women, many of them lawyers who worked for the court, a county prosecutor and three fellow appellate justices.
Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson, [photo], was removed from his office for 18 acts of prejudicial misconduct involving more than 40 proven allegations.
‘Treating women disrespectfully, including unwanted touching and making inappropriate sexual comments, reflects a sense of entitlement completely at odds with the canons of judicial ethics and the role of any judge,’ the panel wrote in a 111-page decision and order.
Paul S. Meyer, attorney for Johnson said they want to ask the California Supreme Court to review the order given ‘the unprecedented decision’ to remove a sitting judge who has never been disciplined and whose legal work is undisputed.
‘Not one witness ever claimed him to be unfair in any case, or anything less than brilliant. The entire matter here involved non-judicial social conversations,’ Meyer said in a statement.
The complaint said he solicited his colleague Justice Victoria Chaney to have an affair. He said he wanted to squeeze her breasts and touched her breasts, a pattern of harassment that persisted for years.
The complaint also said that Johnson proposed sex three times to a California Highway Patrol officer who served as his driver for work functions, according to NBC.
Johnson denied the allegations.
The panel further found that justice Johnson behaved inappropriately toward judicial assistants and a research attorney, telling them they looked good and soliciting personal relationships with them with his attorneys suggesting Johnson was the victim of malicious gossip and that some of his accusers, including Justice Victoria Chaney, were not credible..
Gregory Dresser, director and chief counsel of the Commission on Judicial Performance, said the decision is final in 30 days, at which point Johnson has 60 days to request the California Supreme Court for review.