California’s judicial watchdog agency has publicly admonished a veteran Alameda County court commissioner for making derogatory remarks about a court interpreter and allowing staff to insult parties and their families.
The Commission on Judicial Performance found Wednesday that Mark Kliszewski, a commissioner of the Alameda County Superior Court since 1989, routinely allowed court staff to make offensive comments related to race, gender and sexual conduct about parties and their family members in his courtroom when court was not in session. The commission’s report also found that Kliszewski, angrily referring to a court interpreter, said: “That c…! That f…… bitch!” The report says he was speaking to a staff member after the interpreter complained to her supervisor about Kliszewski repeatedly insulting her to other staff—sometimes in her presence.
According to a court directory, Kliszewski is currently handling family law cases at the Hayward Hall of Justice. James Murphy of Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney, who represents Kliszewski in the disciplinary matter, didn’t immediately respond to messages Wednesday.
This marks the second time in less than a year that the CJP has disciplined a member of the Alameda County bench. Last October, the CJP hit Commissioner Taylor Culver with charges that carried possible expulsion from the bench after he had been accused of being rude to litigants, mishandling court proceedings, and making inappropriate remarks to staff. Culver resigned his position in November 2016. He agreed not to seek judicial office or any assignment as a judicial officer in the state of California as part of a stipulation to dismiss the CJP’s proceedings against him.
In Kliszewski’s case, the commission wrote that it took into account two prior instances that the commissioner had been disciplined when imposing the public admonishment. In 2000, the Alameda Superior Court suspended him without pay for 120 days for misconduct during his judicial campaign, including making misrepresentations in his campaign literature. He was also previously suspended without pay for two weeks in 1996 for mistreating a female social worker who appeared in his courtroom, according to the CJP. Kliszewski had been required to participate in additional training in both instances.