A California appeals court justice accused of sexually harassing staff and attorneys will be removed from office after the state Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal Wednesday.
Jeffrey Johnson will become the highest-ranking California judge ever removed for misconduct, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Johnson, 60, serves on the Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. Eleven women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances to them or groping them, including another justice on the court and a lawyer who alleged that Johnson put his hand under her dress at a dinner.
In June, the state Commission on Judicial Performance ordered him removed from the bench, where he had served since being appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He previously served as a federal prosecutor and a federal judge.
Johnson's conduct “severely tarnished the esteem of the judiciary in the eyes of the public,” the commission said.
Johnson and his lawyers appealed, saying he never had committed any “willful misconduct” and didn't have any previous record of discipline, the Chronicle reported.
But on Wednesday, the state Supreme Court declined to review the decision.
“This decision deprives the public of a diverse jurist who is universally acknowledged to be a brilliant and exceptionally fair judicial officer,” said Paul S. Meyer, an attorney for Johnson.