Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 28, 2022


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Drunk-Driving Judge Who Lied Draws Censure


By a MetNews Staff Writer


San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Michael J. Mulvihill Jr. was publicly censured by the Commission on Judicial Performance yesterday, pursuant to a stipulation, based on his conviction, pursuant to a guilty plea, to drunk driving and the events surrounding his offense.

The commission’s decision and order recites that on New Years Day, he drove under the influence with a blood alcohol reading of .25 percent—“more than three times the legal limit for driving”—and caused an accident that was videotaped, with the video being posted on YouTube.

The circumstances, it says, included “attempting to leave the scene of the accident, falsely informing bystanders that he was a truck driver to try to persuade them to let him leave the scene, misleading law enforcement officers about the cause of the accident, and underreporting to law enforcement the amount of alcohol he had consumed.”

Suspended Jail Sentence

Mulvilhill was sentenced to 10 days in jail, with two days credited, and the sentence as to the remaining days stayed.

The judge violated three canons of the Code of Judicial Ethics and committed “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute,” the commission declared, commenting:

“Judge Mulvihill’s conduct in driving under the influence of alcohol and his resulting criminal conviction are utterly irreconcilable with the minimum standards expected of a judge.”

Its adds that his “conduct following the accident was egregious.”

Discourteous Conduct

In addition, the report tells of a Sept, 21, 2021 unlawful detainer hearing at which he called a litigant a “smart aleck,” and “criticized her tone of voice, and stated, sarcastically: ‘I understand what they were going to testify about, ma’am, I’m not an idiot, okay.’ ”

The report says:

“[T]he commission concludes the misconduct here does not rise to the level of wrongdoing in which the Supreme Court has imposed the ultimate sanction of removal from office. The commission also concludes that the purposes of judicial discipline…—protection of the public, enforcement of rigorous standards of judicial conduct, and the maintenance of public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judicial system—can be accomplished through a censure.”

Mulvihill was elected to the bench in the 2014 primary. He was, at the time, a deputy district attorney.


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