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Tulare County Jurist Censured by State Judicial Commission

August 24, 1996|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Tulare County Superior Court Judge Howard Broadman has been publicly censured by the state Commission on Judicial Performance for prejudicial administration of justice.

The counts involved talking to reporters about pending cases, researching whether prison treatment could be withheld from an HIV-positive defendant and meeting in chambers with a lawyer who was prosecuting a case against a lawyer who was involved in a dispute with Broadman.

The commission, which could have recommended penalties ranging from no action to removal from the bench, cleared Broadman of seven other counts.

"It's an overwhelming victory, not only for Judge Broadman, but for judicial independence in the state of California," said his attorney, Stephen Cornwell. "He's very relieved and gratified that the system has worked. This is the end of a long, long road."

Cornwell said he and Broadman had not decided whether to appeal the commission findings, which were released Thursday.

A three-judge panel spent months investigating allegations against Broadman, who has made news on a number of issues, particularly a 1991 order that a woman use long-term Norplant birth control devices.

He made birth control a condition of the woman's probation after she was convicted of severely beating her children. However, that requirement was appealed and never was imposed because the woman, Darlene Johnson, was later jailed on drug charges, a violation of her probation.

Broadman has also been criticized for agreeing to release a defendant on probation if he would wear a T-shirt saying he was a thief and for jailing a woman for being 22 minutes late to court and refusing to consider her appeal that she had to take her children to school.

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