A federal judicial panel investigating former U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull over a racist email involving President Barack Obama found the judge sent hundreds of other inappropriate messages.
The Judicial Council of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found emails that showed disdain for blacks, Indians, Hispanics, women, religious faiths and some with inappropriate jokes about sexual orientation.
The council’s March 2013 order reprimanding Cebull was released for the first time Friday by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Cebull retired May 2 before the order was enforced.
The 9th Circuit council condemned Cebull’s email practices and ordered he issue a second public apology. It says concerned parties may ask him to recuse himself.
Two council members said they would go further and ask Cebull to retire.
Former judge violated ethics rules, panel rules
A national panel of federal judges has released the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court Judicial Council’s March 2013 order that found former Montana Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull in violation of ethics codes.
According to the findings, a review of four years worth of Cebull’s personal email activity from his court-assigned email address found “hundreds” of emails “related to race, politics, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and politically sensitive issues that were inappropriate for Judge Cebull to have sent from his federal email account.”
Cebull retired from the federal bench May 3, 2013, following a nine-month investigation that was launched after the Great Falls Tribune revealed that Cebull had forwarded a racist email from his courthouse chambers containing an offensive joke about President Barack Obama, suggesting that Obama’s mother had sex with a dog.
The Ninth Circuit’s Judicial Council found that “the majority of the emails were political in nature.”
“Whether they were cast as jokes or serious commentary, the emails showed disdain and disrespect for liberal political leaders,” the judicial council found. “A significant number of emails were race related. Whether cast as jokes or serious commentary, the emails showed disdain and disrespect for African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics, especially those who are not in the United States legally. A similarly significant number of emails related to religion and showed disdain for certain faiths. Approximately the same number of emails concerned women and/or sexual topics and were disparaging of women. A few emails contained inappropriate jokes relating to sexual orientation.”
The judicial council also found that “a large number of emails related to pending legislation or an issue that could come before the court, such as immigration, gun control, civil rights, health care or environmental matters.”