On Thursday, March 9, 2023, the Supreme Court of Mississippi suspended Municipal Court judge Carlos E. Moore for improperly summoning two local officers to a hearing and criticizing them publicly.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Carlos E. Moore”, and was brought by the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance with case no. 2022-JP-00504-SCT.

The charges cited violations of the Mississippi Constitution Section 177A and Canons 1, 2A, 2B, 3B(3), 3B(4), and 4(A) of the Code of Judicial Conduct which state:

When the judge’s actions constitute wilful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.

A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be preserved.

A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

Judges shall not allow their family, social, or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment. Judges shall not lend the prestige of their offices to advance the private interests of the judges or others.

A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings before the judge.

Judges shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom they deal in their official capacities, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, and of their staffs, court officials, and others subject to their direction and control.

The matter arose was from the incident on December 8, 2020, wherein the respondent criticized Grenada Police Chief Douglas and Det. Sgt. Chris Brown publicly during an open court concerning a discussion about a private client of Moore’s that occurred at his private law office. Moreover, the complaint stated that summon of the two local officers made by the respondent was improper.

The filing states:

“Judge Moore halted the court proceedings and directed both men to stand before him at the bench. Despite Detective Sergeant Brown’s request that the discussion be held in the privacy of the judge’s chambers, Judge Moore proceeded, in the presence of the people in the courtroom, to chastise the officers regarding the meeting on December 4, 2020.”

The filing continues:

“According to the Commission’s complaint, Judge Moore accused Detective Sergeant Brown of threatening to cause bodily harm to Moore based on the remark he had made while leaving Moore’s law office. Additionally, the formal complaint alleged that Judge Moore labeled Detective Sergeant Brown a racist. The complaint said also that Moore had threatened to have Brown arrested if he ever visited one of Moore’s properties again.”

The respondent didn’t contest the said accusations. The court stated that the judge used the prestige of his office and the space of the courtroom to advance his private interests in his private law practice while in his official capacity as a judge. According to the court, such willful misconduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute. The judge was then suspended from his office.

The Suspension states:

“Such willful misconduct is prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute. We, therefore, impose a sanction of suspension of Judge Moore, without pay, for 60 days from his position as municipal judge for both Grenada and Clarksdale, a public reprimand, and a fine of $1,500.”

Consistent with the order of suspension, on March 9, 2023, the Supreme Court of Mississippi issued a mandate deciding to suspend and publicly reprimand the respondent in an open court.

The Disposition states:

“Carlos E. Moore shall be suspended from office, without pay, for sixty days from his position as municipal judge for both Grenada and Clarksdale effective on the date of the issuance of the mandate of this Court and shall be publicly reprimanded in open court by the presiding judge on the first day of the next term of the Grenada County Circuit Court in which a jury venire is present following the issuance of the mandate of this Court, with Judge Moore present. Judge Moore shall also be publicly reprimanded in open court by the presiding judge on the first day of the next term of the Coahoma County Circuit Court in which a jury venire is present following the issuance of the mandate of this Court, with Judge Moore present. Judge Moore is fined S1.500. Judge Carlos E. Moore is taxed with costs.”

Judge Moore graduated from Florida State University College of Law.

Judge Moore is a municipal judge for the City of Grenada. His service as a municipal judge in Grenada began in 2020. His information can be found on ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.