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California judge censured for trying to get ticket tossed

May 20, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s Commission on Judicial Performance said Monday that it has imposed a severe public censure on a Santa Cruz County judge who ran a red light then tried to have the ticket dismissed.

The commission said in a statement that Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Ariadne J. Symons’ traffic violation came after a history of disciplinary issues that were aggravating factors in its decision.

After Symons was caught on camera driving through a red light in 2016, a ticket was sent to her husband because the car was registered to him. The judge helped her husband try to get the ticket dismissed, never identifying herself as the driver, the commission said.

Symons also “misused the prestige of her office” by getting information from court personnel in connection with her husband’s court filing, it said.

A public censure is the commission’s second-highest level of discipline. It comes before removal from office.

The commission cited past incidents in which it said Symons had improper communications with a jury, addressed a party in an “undignified and discourteous” way and made remarks to a litigant that reflected “poor demeanor and bias.”

Symons said in a statement that she accepts the commission’s findings and believes the process will make her a better judge.

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