OC Judge Censured for Sex in Chambers

Report says Judge Scott Steiner also contacted the DA's office regarding a job for a woman with whom he was having an affair.

A Southern California judge has been censured for a string of improprieties, including sexual activity in his Orange County Superior Court chambers.

The report, issued by the Commission on Judicial Performance, also says Judge Scott Steiner contacted attorneys in the district attorney’s office about possible jobs for a woman with whom he was having an affair and that he failed to recuse himself from a case that involved a very close friend.

Steiner will remain on the bench despite the censure.

The state agency that oversees investigations into allegations of judicial misconduct found “engaging in sexual intercourse in the courthouse is the height of irresponsible and improper behavior by a judge. It reflects an utter disrespect for the dignity and decorum of the court, and is seriously at odds with a judge’s duty to avoid conduct that tarnishes the esteem of the judicial office in the public’s eye."

The commission said in a statement that while each of the improprietes alone would not be enough for a censure, together they form a serious enough breach that the punishment is appropriate.

Following 11 years as a deputy district attorney in Orange County, Steiner was appointed to the bench in 2010. Steiner is also a frequent guest lecturer at University of California, Irvine, according to the school website.

Steiner’s attorney, Paul S. Meyer, issued a written statement Tuesday after the report was issued.

“Judge Steiner cooperated fully in the investigation. He apologizes and appreciates the Commission’s thorough review and fair findings in this matter.”

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