On Monday, March 11, 2024, The Davis Vanguard reported that former Judge Gregory Kreis was not re-elected to the Humboldt County Superior Court after facing numerous accusations of unethical behavior.

The Commission on Judicial Performance had filed a formal notice of proceedings against Judge Kreis in February, detailing 19 counts of violating the Code of Judicial Ethics between 2015 and 2023. Some of the more serious allegations included Judge Kreis making inappropriate and sexualized comments toward attorneys, court staff, and their family members.

At a campout event in 2019, Judge Kreis was accused of ridiculing lawyers and pushing a public defender into a lake while making antisemitic remarks. He was also said to have simulated a lap dance toward the wife of an assistant public defender while she was holding a child.

Other accusations claimed Judge Kreis failed to properly disclose personal relationships, like an alleged extramarital affair with a family law facilitator. There were also reports that he socialized privately with attorneys who later appeared before him in court.

In a dissolution case, it was alleged Judge Kreis did not disclose that his own wife worked closely with one of the plaintiffs and that the plaintiff had visited the judge’s house on multiple occasions. He was later accused of improperly ruling in that case without making these details known.

The formal notice from the Commission on Judicial Performance included two claims of physical assault as well. At a private gathering in 2018, Judge Kreis was reported to have inappropriately hugged and touched two people without their consent. Another accusation alleged he had exposed himself to a female attorney while intoxicated in 2015.

Judge Kreis denied all misconduct claims in his 18-page response. However, on March 6th, voters in Humboldt County removed him from the Superior Court bench. April Van Dyke received approximately 60% of the vote to replace Judge Kreis, who had served on the court since 2015. The Commission’s investigation into his conduct remains ongoing.

The re-election loss and ongoing ethics probe suggest Judge Kreis faces a severely damaged reputation from the extensive list of misconduct accusations. It remains to be seen if he will face any further consequences as the ethics review moves forward.

 

 

Source: The Davis Vanguard