Judge Alex Kozinski apologizes for distributing crude jokes

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Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, has apologized for having maintained an e-mail “gag list” in which he distributed crude jokes and other humorous material, according to an opinion made public Tuesday.

Kozinski was admonished earlier this year in a separate case for being “judicially imprudent” and “exhibiting poor judgment” by placing sexually explicit photos and videos on an Internet server that could be accessed by the public.

The opinion released Tuesday by the Judicial Council of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said the investigation into the gag list was concluded after Kozinski said he had stopped e-mailing the jokes and “apologized for any embarrassment to the federal judiciary.”


The panel took no action against the judge.

Kozinski distributed the jokes to friends and associates, including his law clerks, colleagues on the federal bench, prominent attorneys and journalists.

The jokes ranged from silly to politically oriented to raunchy.

The investigations into both the Internet server and gag list were launched after articles were published in The Times that detailed some of the contents of each.

The complaint about the e-mailed jokes was part of another complaint filed by a former court administrator who accused Kozinski and two other judges of disabling electronic sensors designed to track Internet use on court computers in the 1990s.

The Judicial Council dismissed that complaint too, concluding that it had been investigated and resolved in 2001 with no finding of wrongdoing. There were no reasons to reopen the matter now, the judges found.

Kozinski’s lawyer, Mark Holscher, said “the judge is pleased to have these matters behind him.”