We previously discussed the case of Wayne County Circuit Judge Wade H. McCree who sent a shirtless photograph of himself to a Sheriff’s Office employee. McCree is now famous for proclaiming that “I’ve got no shame in my game.” Perhaps, but the Michigan Supreme Court found some shame for the court system and accepted a recommendation from the Judicial Tenure Commission and publicly censured Judge Wade H. McCree.
The bailiff’s husband was not too keen in his wife receiving the photo and filed a complaint. He gave the picture of the judge in the buff to reporter Charles LeDuff. McCree responded “Hot dog, yep that’s me. I’ve got no shame in my game. I ain’t talking to nobody else’s wife. You can almost get that here and now.” He added “I’ve sent that out to other women. There’s nothing nude about it. I’m in no more clothes than I’ll be at the Y this afternoon when I swim my mile.”
The message from the court is that working on the bench is meant to be somehow distinguishable from swimming laps in a speedo. For one thing, the robe stays on when you are on the bench.
That seems to be the point of Canon 2:
A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in
A. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. A judge must therefore accept restrictions on conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly.
In what may be the most obvious decision to everyone but McCree, he “conducted himself in a flippant manner and did not give the interview the seriousness he should have. As a result, he brought shame and obloquy to the judiciary.”