23 Judges Get Scolded

From a Times Staff Writer

Three judges were privately chastised in 1984 for transgressions ranging from alcohol abuse to misuse of a judge's contempt power, the Commission on Judicial Performance said in its annual report Thursday.

The watchdog agency that oversees judicial conduct of all 1,341 municipal, superior and appellate court judges in California wrote informal letters of warning to another 20 judges.

One of them briefly jailed a defendant to scare him, nine made discourteous or offensive remarks to litigants, and one appeared to invoke his status to resolve a "personal traffic dispute."

Three other judges endorsed candidates in partisan races, a violation of a judicial canon. The remainder were warned for various other violations. The commission did not provide further details of the cases, nor does it release the names of judges who are privately disciplined or warned.

Only one judge, Burbank Municipal Judge Marion E. Gubler, was publicly censured last year. The case largely revolved around Gubler's zealousness in forcing indigents to reimburse the county for their use of the public defender's office.

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