State Commission Publicly Admonishes Judge Convicted of DUI

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge who was convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit was publicly admonished by a state watchdog agency in San Francisco today.

The Commission on Judicial Performance said the action of Judge Joseph Scott “evidences a serious disregard of the principles of personal and official conduct embodied in the Code of Judicial Ethics.”

Scott, 63, was arrested during Memorial Day weekend after a Redwood City police officer observed him driving erratically on U.S. Highway 101 near Woodside Road at about 12:30 a.m. on May 24.

He was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent, according to the commission.

In September, Scott pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

A visiting Los Angeles judge sentenced him to three years of probation and a $1,889 fine and ordered him not to drive with any alcohol in his blood during the period of probation.

The commission said in the admonition ruling, “Judge Scott’s unlawful conduct was also prejudicial to the administration of justice and brought the judicial office into disrepute.”

The public admonition is a middle ground among the possible disciplinary punishments that can be meted out by the commission, which is responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct.

The more severe possible punishments are public censure or removal from office and the less severe sanctions are a private admonition or a private advisory letter.

The commission, chaired by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Erica Yew, is made up of three judges, two lawyers and six members of the public.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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