Judges censured for having sex in chambers

Judges Scott Steiner and Cory Woodward censured by panel for bringing women to their chambers for sexual encounters.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Sept. 3, 2014 at 1:20 PM

SACRAMENTO, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A pair of California judges were censured by a judicial oversight panel for bringing women into their chambers for sexual encounters.

The Commission on Judicial Performance, comprised of three judges, two lawyers and six members of the public, publicly censured Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner and Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward for engaging in sexual trysts in their chambers.

"Engaging in sexual intercourse in the courthouse is the height of irresponsible and improper behavior by a judge," the commission wrote in its ruling against Steiner.

The panel heard Steiner called the Orange County District Attorney's office to support a job application for a woman he had sex with in his chambers. Steiner was also censured for failing to recuse himself from a case involving a friend.

The commission said Steiner potentially submitted court workers to a hostile work environment as a result of his "libidinous conduct."

Woodward was chided by the commission for having sexual encounters with his married courtroom clerk in 2012 and 2013 in his chambers. He would also sometimes send the clerk sexual notes during court proceedings, the panel said, and the relationship was "sufficiently overt" that more than one complaint was made. The ruling said Woodward showed "great remorse and contrition" for his actions.

Paul Meyer, a lawyer who represented both judges in the proceedings, said in a statement his clients appreciated the "thorough review and fair findings in this matter."

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