Judge Lawrence “Larry” King has received a public reprimand and been ordered to attend school for new judges. This is a result of a complaint brought by an Arizona resident who wishes not to be identified. Her/his complaint spelled out multiple offenses by King in his own court, the details verified by audio and written records and witnesses.
Judge King is right now seeking a contract renewal with the Town. Mayor Foster suggested and the Council agreed to postpone any new contract in order to see this ruling of the State of Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct. The Commission chose only to reprimand Judge King for his actions in Florian v Jones where he shouted and improperly directed defendant Jennifer Jones.
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The complainant alleged that a pro tem municipal court judge was biased, engaged in improper ex parte communications, improperly failed to disqualify himself, exhibited an improper demeanor, engaged in a pattern of legal error, and treated pro se litigants unfairly.
After reviewing the allegations, the relevant recordings and legal documents, and the judge’s response, the Commission finds that Judge King violated the Code of Judicial Conduct as to one allegation, warranting an informal sanction. Specifically, during a hearing in the injunction against harassment case of Florian v. Jones, Judge King displayed an improper demeanor in violation of Rule 2.8(B) of the Code. While the Commission did not find that Judge King violated the Code with regard to the remaining allegations, the members did determine that his evidentiary rulings in Florian v. Jones suggest that he lacks a complete understanding of the Arizona Rules of Evidence. The Commission therefore directs Judge King to attend the portion of Limited New Judge Orientation in 2013 that deals with the Arizona Rules of Evidence.
Accordingly, Judge Lawrence King is hereby reprimanded for his conduct as described above and pursuant to Commission Rule 17(a). The record in this case, consisting of the complaint, the judge’s response, and this order, shall be made public as required by Rule 9(a). The Commission also directs the judge to attend the educational course described above, pursuant to Commission Rule 17(b).
The Commission dismissed the remaining allegations against the judge pursuant to Rule 16(b), with a private warning letter limited to the issues of evidentiary rulings and ex parte communications.
Dated: December 4, 2012.