On May 10, 2019 Cumberland County general court Judge April M. Smith was punished for “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
Judge Smith, who is black, accused her white boss of racial bias towards her; more on that later, but first lets talk about these hair appointments.
Judge Smith rushed through cases to get her hair and nails done. The Judicial Standards Commission was contacted by multiple attorneys who said Judge Smith rushed to conclude cases to avoid working the full afternoon or the next day.
On some occasions, lawyers said Judge Smith announced to the court that she was adjourning court early for personal appointments, such as for hair and nail salon visits or to spend time with her child, the Judicial Standards Commission said.
Judge Smith admitted that she rushed through court sessions to the detriment of the parties and even courtroom staff.
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The judge's decisions to rush cases caused some attorneys to have concerns about a full and fair opportunity to be heard.
Judge Smith also made negative remarks about her superior judge.
The state Supreme Court cited several instances where Smith’s comments, behavior and actions were inappropriate to her office and showed a lack of respect for the judicial office and for the Chief District Judge.
Judge Smith was found to have repeatedly and regularly made disparaging comments about the Chief Judge to other judges, judicial staff, clerical staff, and members of the local bar. Judge Smith also suggested to court personnel working with the Chief Judge that his scheduling decisions towards her were racially motivated.
But the Judicial Standards Commission found no evidence of racial bias or that Respondent’s schedule was unfair or burdensome as compared to other judges.
It is yet to be determined what Judge Smith's punishment is.