When acting on a recommendation from the Commission, the Court will conduct a de novo review of the Commission's proceedings, while affording deference to the Commission's recommendations when the Commission's findings are based on clear and convincing evidence.
The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance filed a formal complaint against Judge Ralph Boone, who denied the claims. The Commission appointed a three-person committee to conduct a hearing. The committee unanimously recommended to the Commission that Judge Boone be removed from his judicial office and assessed the costs of all proceedings. The Commission filed with the Court its findings that Judge Boone did violate Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 3B(2), 3B(4), and 4A of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and that such actions constituted willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, which brings the judicial office into disrepute pursuant to Article 6, Section 177A, of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, as amended. The court uses the standard of clear and convincing evidence to make a determination.
Did the Commission provide clear and convincing evidence that Judge Boone's actions constituted willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice?
Yes, in part.
The judge's ex parte communications and the inappropriate manner in which he handled the reduction of fines was not in accordance with judicial canons. Therefore, the judge was suspended for 90 days without pay, issued a public reprimand, and assessed with the costs. Because the Commission did not provide clear and convincing evidence surrounding the alleged sexual conduct with a female litigant the Court was unable to adopt the Commission's recommendation that Judge Boone be removed from office.