In 2014, a newspaper reporter asked Judge Ruth Neely, a municipal court judge and part-time circuit court magistrate, if she was “excited” to be able to perform same-sex marriages. Neely answered that she would not perform same-sex marriages in her judicial capacity as a part-time circuit court magistrate due to her religious beliefs. The matter came to the attention of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial conduct and Ethics. After an investigation, the Commission’s Investigatory Panel determined that there was probable cause to find a violation of the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission’s Adjudicatory Panel granted the Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment. The full Commission adopted the Adjudicatory Panel’s findings and recommendations and recommended that Judge Neely be removed from her positions as municipal court judge and part-time circuit court magistrate. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Judge Neely violated the Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct by announcing that she would perform marriages only for opposite-sex couples. The Court, however, did not accept the Commission’s recommendation for removal, and, instead, order public censure with specific conditions. View "Inquiry Concerning Honorable Ruth Neely" on Justia Law
Justia Legal Ethics Opinion Summaries
After Barbara Magin purchased property in the Solitude subdivision, the Solitude site committee informed her that pre-existing fences and a barn were in violation of the subdivision covenants. Solitude filed a complaint against Magin, alleging violations of the covenants and seeking to recover attorney fees. Attorney Glenn Ford, who practiced in the same firm as the first attorney Magin hired before retaining other counsel, acted as Solitude's counsel. No written waiver of conflict was executed. Magin filed a motion to disqualify Ford from acting as Solitude's counsel due to conflict of interest. The motion was dismissed. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Solitude. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Solitude's counsel had a conflict of interest, but the district court did not err by refusing to disqualify the firm because Magin's motion to disqualify was untimely; (2) the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of Solitude; and (3) the district court abused its discretion by ordering Magin to pay the attorney fees generated by her former firm because it failed to segregate the non-recoverable fees associated with clearing the conflict.