Report: Appellate Judge Retires Following Harassment Probe

The presiding justice of the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose stepped down this week amid allegations that he sexually harassed and discriminated against women, according to the Mercury News.

Conrad Rushing, who was appointed to the court in 2002 by Gov. Gray Davis, was the subject of a scathing report by the state Judicial Council, which found that he treated women as inferiors and made bigoted comments about Portuguese-Americans and other ethnic groups.

The report alleges that Rushing looked at porn in his chambers and engaged in other sexual behaviors at work. He made overly personal remarks about women’s looks, the Merc reports, and even commented about the length of a female lawyer’s legs.

According to the council’s findings, Rushing allowed male attorneys employed by the court to telecommute and gave them more complex cases, while he ordered female counterparts to do personal favors for him, such as preparing his home for fumigation.

Rushing has no record of public discipline, but a 1998 profile of the judge in The Recorder noted that he had been named in a complaint about gender bias by a female attorney. The story mentioned no further details, however.

The Judicial Council apparently issued its report on the judge this past spring. Rushing announced his retirement on Oct. 31, just weeks into the #MeToo movement that made stories of sexual harassment suddenly more newsworthy and consequential.

The Sixth District is headquartered in San Jose and spans Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. It decides cases by randomly chosen three-judge panels, which rule on some 900 appeals a year.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

8 Comments

  1. > The report alleges that Rushing looked at porn in his chambers and engaged in other sexual behaviors at work.

    > . . . while he ordered female counterparts to do personal favors for him, such as preparing his home for fumigation.

    Jennifer:

    These are pretty extraordinary claims.

    Would it be possible to quote the relevant passages from the Judicial Council report?

    It would probably also be relevant to identify the members of the Judicial Council who prepared the report.

    • “…confidential five-page report commissioned by the state Judicial Council found…” – SJ Mercury

      Forty years on the bench and his high crimes consist of “looking at nude photos of women while in his chambers, giving men on his staff preferred assignments, and regularly commenting on the appearance of women on his staff.” Absent a modicum of transparency, and factoring in the man’s age (today and at the time of the alleged improprieties), this appears to be more a case of state-imposed euthanasia than it does any type of justice.

  2. Conrad Rushing was a pompous, arrogant, self absorbed bully on the bench when he was on the Santa Clara Superior Court. The fact that he lasted so long is a damning testament to the good ol’ boy network known as the Judicial Council, as well as of his judicial colleagues who did nothing for all those years to rein him in.

    • How about the fact that most of the inner circle who ran the San Jose legal community for decades and decades, even as recently as the 1990s, were members of the men’s-only St. Claire Club? To be fair, though, I don’t know if Rushing was ever a member.

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