Latest effort to impeach a state judge for his decision(s) filed against Missouri judge up for a Federal judgeship

Welcome Gavel Grab readers!

The (probably?) single biggest year in history for efforts to impeach state judges has just gotten one bill bigger.

On May 4, Missouri House member Rochelle Walton Gray filed HR 3102, articles of impeachment against St. Louis Circuit Judge John A. Ross. The articles were filed the same day Judge Ross was set to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as it considered his nomination for an appointment to the federal bench for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The articles accuse Judge Ross of “judicial activism” and racial discrimination in the case of Buchek v. Washington, et. al., Cause No. 09SL-CC04530, for failure¬† to follow legal precedence (and specifying the cases allegedly not followed) and other accusations related to the Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District, whose board membership the articles claim is made up of black elected officials. The district’s former attorney, Elbert Walton Jr., is the father of Rochelle Walton Gray, the Missouri House Representative that authored HR 3102.

The articles of impeachment read very much like the letter sent by Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay in opposition to Judge Ross’ appointment to the federal bench (as per this article in the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly).¬† The Clay letter contained as an attachment a letter (described by local media as “meandering”) from “Citizens for Fairness in the Appointment of Judges” (led by Elbert Walton, Jr. and Rep. Walton Gray) to Sen. Claire McCaskill, sections of which appear to have been repeated verbatim in HR 3102.

During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Judge Ross denied the statements in the Clay letter, suggesting it “contains significant inaccuracies.”

Despite being filed on May 4, HR 3102 was not referred to a committee (House Judiciary) until May 13, the day the legislature concluded floor sessions. Formal adjournment sine die will occur May 26 or 27. Because Missouri bills do not carry over from session to session, it appears no action will take place regarding HR 3102.

An updated list of pending impeachment/judicial removal efforts can be found below the fold:

State Bill Form of removal Target Reason for removal request Status
Iowa HR 47 Impeachment Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel Same sex marriage decision Varnum v. Brien Pending, probably dead
Iowa HR 48 Impeachment Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady Same sex marriage decision Varnum v. Brien Pending, probably dead
Iowa HR 49 Impeachment Supreme Court Justice Daryl Hecht Same sex marriage decision Varnum v. Brien Pending, probably dead
Iowa HR 50 Impeachment Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins Same sex marriage decision Varnum v. Brien Pending, probably dead
Massachusetts HB 2172 Bill of address Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Roderick L. Ireland Unknown Pending
Massachusetts HB 2172 Bill of address Supreme Judicial Court Justice Francis X. Spina Unknown Pending
Massachusetts HB 2172 Bill of address Supreme Judicial Court Justice Judith A. Cowin Unknown Pending
Massachusetts HB 2172 Bill of address Supreme Judicial Court Justice Robert J. Cordy Unknown Pending
Missouri HR 3102 Impeachment Circuit Court Judge John A. Ross Decisions in Buchek v. Washington Pending, probably dead
New Hampshire HR 7 Impeachment Marital Master Phillip Cross Decisions in custody/divorce cases Investigation approved by House
New Hampshire HR 7 Impeachment “any justice of the New Hampshire superior court” Decisions in custody/divorce cases Investigation approved by House
New Jersey SR 105 Impeachment Supreme Court Justice Roberto Rivera-Soto Refusal to vote in some cases Request for resignation or impeachment approved by Senate
Oklahoma HR 1001 Request for removal by judicial disciplinary commission District Judge Thomas Bartheld Failure to reject negotiated plea bargain in child sex abuse case Pending, probably dead (adjourn 5/27)
Oklahoma HR 1005 Impeachment request to Congress U.S. District Court Judge Vickie Miles-LaGrange “Abuse of authority” for issuing an injunction against state’s sharia law ban Pending, probably dead (adjourn 5/27)
Oklahoma HR 1006 Request for removal by judicial disciplinary commission District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure 36 felony counts, including four counts of perjury and 32 counts of fraudulent claim Pending, probably dead (adjourn 5/27)
Oklahoma HR 1024 Request for removal by judicial disciplinary commission District Judge Tom Lucas Denial of blanket recusal motion by DA Pending, probably dead (adjourn 5/27)
Pennsylvania HR 124 Impeachment Court of Common Pleas Judge Willis W. Berry, Jr. Use of his office and judicial secretary for a decade to “assist him in the day-to-day operations concerning his properties.” Pending

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