A state judicial committee created to oversee the state’s judges has filed three ethics violations charges against Coffee County District Judge Chris Kaminski after he allegedly benefited an attorney with whom he was romantically involved.
The Alabama Court of Judiciary posted a 28-page document Tuesday detailing the charges against Kaminski – which allege he assigned cases and guardian ad litem statuses to the attorney in question, did not recuse himself from those cases in which she was involved and even ruled in some of those cases. The complaint also charges Kaminski used the “prestige” of the office to obtain courtroom surveillance footage in an effort to disprove the inappropriate relationship allegations.
It is a violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics for judges to display “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice which brings the judicial office into disrepute.”
According to the Alabama Constitution, a judge is disqualified from his duties while the complaint is adjudicated.
The complaint cites scores of cases in which Kaminski assigned the attorney to cases or made rulings in cases to which the attorney was a party. Dates range primarily from the middle of 2017 to the middle of 2018.
The complaint, signed by Judicial Inquiry Commission Chairman Billy Bedsole, asserts that the relationship between Kaminski and the attorney was not a closely held secret, yet Kaminski continued to make rulings in associated cases and assign cases to the attorney in direct violation of the Canon of Judicial Ethics.
The investigation into the allegation began around September of 2018. Kaminksi filed a response to the commission November 28, 2018.
“Despite the clear evidence that Judge Kaminski and the attorney were in a romantic relationship during a period in which she practiced before him, Judge Kaminski’s response, submitted by his counsel at the time, failed to be forthright and candid with the commission,” the complaint states.