Judge Bruce Clayton Mills of Contra Costa, CA has been BenchSlapped at least 5 times by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. However, he had no qualms when jailing a divorce litigant (with no prior criminal record) for contempt of court based on controversial and possibly specious grounds related to publicizing “private” information from his estranged wife’s cell phone in the midst of his divorce and restraining order case. The divorce litigant, Joe Sweeney, is an activist who was instrumental in successfully forcing the California legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to call for an audit of the Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP). Sweeney, along with other court reformers, successfully lobbied for the audit–which is the first time in California history that the CJP will be audited. As RobeProbe previously cited, courts have a history of stifling speech which criticizes the courts or its judges. See here
The study mentioned by RobeProbe above mostly cites incidents of contempt of court against court critics. Here, Judge Mills went the extra mile. According to supporters of Sweeney, Judge Mills jailed Sweeney in retaliation to his successful bid to have the CJP court audited. Some supporters cite the coincidental dates between the audit’s announcement and the jailing: The audit was announced on August 10 and the imprisonment was ordered August 12.
Below is a compilation of the many BenchSlaps ordered against Judge Mills as compiled by one of the groups of activists supporting Sweeney. Some of the BenchSlaps were hidden due to proceedings being kept “secret” by the CJP. As one of the activists’ website’s characterizes the BenchSlaps:
The group identified Mills as the offending judge in the secret proceedings by reverse engineering details from the public disciplinary actions and cross referencing the information with old CJP annual reports. The acts of public and private misconduct occurred in 2001, 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2013. cjpnews.blogspot.com
RobeProbe recommends that you read these BenchSlaps below. RobeProbe shall continue to follow this story in upcoming weeks.
Ironically, the very body which BenchSlapped Mills at least 5 times reacted to the audit by filing a lawsuit to quash an audit which would only serve the interests of justice because it seeks to answer the question: Why and how are over 90% of complaints filed with the CJP against judicial misconduct dismissed?5 BenchSlaps Against Bruce C. Mills