Commission on Judicial Performance removes Judge Mallery from office

The California Commission on Judicial Performance issued a decision and order Thursday, May 2 removing Lassen County Superior Court Judge Tony R. Mallery from office. The commission’s determination becomes final in 30 days, subject to a discretionary review by the California Supreme Court. The commission began its inquiry Sept. 12, 2022. According to a statement from the commission, it ordered Mallery’s removal due to 23 acts of willful misconduct and 36 acts of prejudicial misconduct.

Former Lassen County Superior Court Judge Tony Mallery.

According to the commission, “The allegations involve discouraging court staff from cooperating with the commission and retaliating against those who did; false representations to the commission; usurping the role of prosecutors and attempting to eliminate plea bargaining in criminal cases; making judicial decisions based on improper considerations; improperly denying peremptory challenges and retaliating against attorneys who filed them; making comments to other judges that might interfere with a fair hearing; engaging in speech and conduct that could be perceived as biased; poor demeanor toward court staff; making disparaging remarks about a fellow judge and court staff; and failing to disclose or disqualify when required.”

“Judge Mallery engaged in a course of misconduct over a significant period of time,” the commission wrote. “Judge Mallery’s misconduct was wide-ranging and reflected a troubling inability to conform his behavior to appropriate judicial standards and a lack of understanding of what being a judge requires. Among other misconduct, Judge Mallery interfered with the investigation of his misconduct by retaliating against witnesses and discouraging witnesses from cooperating with the investigation of his misconduct.

“Judge Mallery’s misconduct was aggravated by his intentional misrepresentations and fabrication while testifying during the proceedings, in his verified answer, and in his responses to investigation letters. The commission determined that such conduct demonstrated that Judge Mallery lacks the essential qualification of honesty required of a judge.”

Mallery argued when took office he encountered “a hostile presiding judge” and “a negative work environment,” but the commission determined “those circumstances are not significantly exculpatory in light of the passage of time between that period and when the vast majority of Judge Mallery’s misconduct occurred.”

While Mallery was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the commission wrote “he failed to prove that any PTSD he allegedly suffered contributed to his conduct. We agree with the masters and conclude that, even if Judge Mallery suffers from PTSD, there is little evidence to prove that any PTSD he allegedly suffered contributed to his misconduct.”

According to the commission, “Judge Mallery has engaged in a course of willful and prejudicial misconduct over a significant period of time. The misconduct is wide-ranging and reflects either a troubling inability to conform his behavior to appropriate judicial standards, or a lack of understanding of what being a judge is and requires, or both. The repeated nature of much of Judge Mallery’s misconduct also suggests a lack of effort or ability to change or modify his conduct. Judges are expected to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary, perform the duties of their office impartially, competently, and diligently, and treat everyone with dignity and respect, on or off the bench. Judge Mallery’s conduct demonstrates that he does not meet these fundamental expectations. His misconduct reflects an inability or unwillingness to perform judicial functions in a manner that comports with the expected rigorous standards of judicial conduct. Further, given his lack of candor during this proceeding, we do not have confidence that he has the fundamental qualities of honesty and integrity required of a judge. Consequently, in order to fulfill our mandate of protecting the public, enforcing high judicial standards, and preserving public respect for the judiciary, we remove Judge Mallery from office.”

Click here to see the commission’s decision and order.