SD Superior Court judge admonished publicly

San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert C. Coates was publicly admonished by the state Commission of Judicial Performance for a second time for using court resources for non-court matters, it was announced Wednesday.

The commission — made up of three judges, two lawyers and six members of the public — said Coates had “persisted in a pattern of abuse of the prestige of his judicial office and misuse of court resources in connection with personal and non-court matters.”

Also, Coates has been disciplined before for similar conduct and giving advice to avoid such conduct, the commission said.

“Judge Coates’ recalcitrance manifests indifference toward the erosion of public confidence in the judiciary that results from irresponsible behavior by judges,” the commission wrote.

In 2000, Coates was admonished over his extensive use of court secretaries and other court resources to prepare more than 100 personal documents.

He also got an advisory letter in 2000 about his use of court resources to prepare and send documents, many on court letterhead, having to do with his civic involvement, the commission said.

In 2005, then-Presiding Judge John Einhorn requested that Judge Coates stop using the court’s fax machine, employees and time to receive and/or send personal, non-court related material, according to the commission.

In 2006, then-Presiding Judge Janis Sammartino advised Judge Coates that court computers should be used only to conduct court business, and in 2008, Assistant Presiding Judge Kevin Enright met with Judge Coates regarding his use of court e-mail.

Coates told Enright that he didn’t think he had done anything wrong but that he understood.

Coates — who has been a judge of the San Diego County Superior Court since 1982 — did not return a call seeking comment.

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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