VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - Judge Jeffrey G. Bennett of the Ventura County Superior Court is being publicly censured by the Judicial Performance Commission for dozens of acts of misconduct.
The commission determined Judge Bennett committed five acts of prejudicial misconduct and one act of improper action, comprised of 28 different acts of misconduct that violated the Code of Judicial Ethics.
Most of the misconduct involved comments he made to defendants and attorneys who appeared in his courtroom. The commission found the comments were, "offensive, undignified, discourteous, dishonest, sexist, and profane, and that created the appearance of bias and retaliation."
In one case, the commission's report described Judge Bennett's misconduct this way; "Such comments included remarks to an African American criminal defendant about 'shucking and jiving,' making crude references to his anatomy, commenting about 'chicks' liking a car and about not spending so much time with his telescope if he had a '20-year-old smoking hot wife,' and using profanity in other remarks."
The commission also found Bennett made comments to an attorney that were false and appeared to be retaliatory. In addition, the commission determined, "Judge Bennett engaged in a pattern of undignified, discourteous and offensive comments to prosecutors that created an appearance of bias against them."
Judge Bennett had already been disciplined for prior "discourteous and undignified remarks."
The report also indicates Judge Bennett admitted to most of his misconduct. You can read the commission's full report on Judge Bennett's public censure in its entirety.
Judge Bennett was first elected to the Ventura County Superior Court in 2008. He was re-elected in 2014 and his current term expires in January, 2021. Bennett earned his B.A. from California State University Sacramento and his J.D. from the Santa Barbara College of Law.