Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Page 1


Napa Superior Court Judge Agrees To Resign and Receive CJP Censure

Admits Stealing Card Holders From Private Club


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Commission on Judicial Performance yesterday censured a Northern California judge who swiped at least two business card holders from a club in San Francisco during a bar association dinner and, as part of a negotiated settlement, he will resign from office Dec. 5.

The recipient of the censure, Napa Superior Court Judge Michael S. Williams, was represented by former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Edith R. Matthai of Robie and Matthai. They entered into a stipulation with commission examiner Mark A. Lizarraga under which it was provided that Williams will use up his accumulated leave time, going on vacation on Oct. 20 and remaining away until the resignation takes effect.

It was also stipulated:

“Judge Williams also agrees that he will not seek or hold judicial office, accept a position or an assignment as a judicial officer, subordinate judicial officer, or judge pro tern with any court in the State of California, or accept a reference of work from any California state court, at any time after December 5, 2017.”

Yesterday’s decision recited that the commission approved the deal last Wednesday.

The incident giving rise to the discipline occurred March 9, 2016 at The City Club of San Francisco. Williams was attending a “Judges Night” dinner staged by the Northern California chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

He was caught on camera stealing the cardholders, each estimated by the club to be of a value of between $30 to $50.

He later told the commission he acted on an “unexplainable impulse.”

“Judge Williams’s conduct seriously undermines public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary,” the decision said. “The judge’s agreement to resign effective December 5, 2017, and not to seek or hold judicial office thereafter affords protection to the public and the reputation of the judiciary in the most expeditious manner by avoiding the delay of further proceedings.”

The decision was signed by the commission’s chair, Presiding Justice Ignazio Ruvolo of the First District’s Div. Four.


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