A state judicial commission in San Francisco on Wednesday ordered Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge John Laettner removed from office for multiple instances of misconduct.
The misconduct included a number of offensive remarks toward women in the courtroom, including telling a deputy public defender, "Your parents hadn't spanked you enough" and telling a court reporter, "You're hot," according to the 76-page ruling by the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Other misconduct included also denying due process to a defendant in a bail proceeding and having an improper private conversation with a prosecutor, the commission said.
Removal from office is the strongest administrative punishment the commission can give. The panel said a factor in its decision was Laettner's "lack of candor" during a disciplinary hearing before a panel of three judges, who found that some of Laettner's explanations were not credible.
In all, the commission found that Laettner engaged in five instances of willful misconduct, meaning acting in bad faith or knowingly exceeding judicial authority, and 11 acts of prejudicial misconduct, meaning conduct that harms public esteem for the judiciary.
The removal order can be appealed to the California Supreme Court. Laettner's attorney, James Murphy, said he planned to do so.