U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Judge Alex Kozinski Retires Amid Allegations

If you follow legal news at all, you've likely heard about the controversy surrounding Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In response, the former chief justice, who has served on the Ninth Circuit since 1985, announced his abrupt retirement, effective immediately, on December 18, 2017.

Not two weeks after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, Judge Kozinski felt compelled to step down from the bench. As his official statement explains, he does not feel that he can be an effective judge while fighting these allegations. Additionally, he expressed concern over the reputation of the federal bench if he did not step down.

The Bigger They Are ...

Given his status as a judge on the most liberal federal appellate court in the country, it came as a rather big shock to many that Judge Kozinski could be accused of such gross conduct. But the judge seems to have a reputation for grossness, and is clearly from a bygone generation devoid of technological common sense, particularly given his 2008 mistake that allowed the entire world to see his, let's just say, eclectic online pornography collection. Notably though, in that case, he initiated an investigation against himself and swiftly acted to correct his mistake.

Though the allegations against him are still just allegations, his resignation stands in stark contrast to seemingly bulletproof attitude he had just a week ago. He actually stated in an interview that he was "not too worried" based on the allegations. His statement announcing his retirement attempts to explain away the allegations as misunderstandings of his humor and his failure to be "mindful enough." While apologetic, as the now-former jurist is surely learning, any attempt to explain away sexual misconduct rarely goes over well.

The official complaint of misconduct against Judge Kozinski has been transferred to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Related Resources: