Panel Closes Investigation Of Former Judge Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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A judicial conduct panel has closed its investigation of former judge Alex Kozinski, who was accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women.

Kozinski, one of the nation’s most prominent jurists, resigned from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Dec. 2017. The 9th Circuit opened an investigation after allegations against him appeared in The Washington Post. The inquiry was then referred to the 2nd Circuit judicial council.

The council announced Tuesday that it would not move forward with its investigation given Kozinski’s resignation. The panel concluded that they are only empowered to investigation complaints against judges in active service.

“Because Alex Kozinski has resigned the office of circuit judge, and can no longer perform any judicial duties, he does not fall within the scope of persons who can be investigated under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act,” the council wrote.

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The panel noted the federal judiciary has taken steps to improve reporting mechanisms for court employees. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts established a committee to review existing anti-harassment safeguards in Dec. 2017, at the order of Chief Justice John Roberts. The chief also acknowledged the courts are “not immune” from sexual misconduct in his year-end report.

“We recognize that the complaint references grave allegations of inappropriate misconduct, which the federal judiciary cannot tolerate,” the council wrote. “Indeed, the federal judiciary has taken steps to ensure that the workplace is free of misconduct.”

The allegations against Kozinski run a shocking spectrum of alleged misconduct. Former clerks, employees, and colleagues in the legal community claim he showed female subordinates pornography, talked frequently about intercourse, propositioned coworkers for sexual liaisons, and groped women in social and professional settings.

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