Superior court judge publicly admonished

By Angela Underwood | Oct 11, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO – After 28 years on the bench, a superior court judge has been publicly admonished.

SAN FRANCISCO – After 28 years on the bench, a superior court judge has been publicly admonished.

Alameda County Superior Court Mark Kliszewski has been rebuked pursuant to California Constitution Commission rule 115 for unacceptable behavior.

“For many years, during his assignment to the juvenile division, Commissioner Kliszewski permitted court staff members to routinely make offensive and inappropriate comments, some of which related to race, gender, and sexual conduct, in the courtroom when court was not in session,” the discipline ruling read.

Some of the comments the commissioner made between 2010-2015 were directed toward the court interpreter, who later reported the judge to a court supervisor.

Judge Mark Kliszewski

“On several occasions, Kliszewski expressed sympathy for court staff who worked with the interpreter and spoke about the interpreter as though she was not present, when she was,” according to the discipline ruling.

It was not only the judge’s offensive remarks that brought on rebuke, but also those of his staff.

“These remarks by staff members included a pattern of derogatory comments about parties and their family members who came before the court,” according to the discipline ruling. “Although the subjects of the remarks were not present, the remarks were made in the courtroom, often in the presence of Kliszewski and other court staff. Staff members also made racial jokes and engaged in sexual banter in Kliszewski’s courtroom.” 

The latest reprimand is not the first the judge has brought on himself. Seventeen years ago, Kliszewski was suspended without pay for four months after misrepresenting himself in his 2000 judicial campaign.  

“In 1996 the court suspended Kliszewski without pay for two weeks for discourteous and improper treatment of a female social worker who appeared in his courtroom,” according to the discipline ruling adding both times Kliszewski had to participate in training before returning to the bench.

Ten commission members voted for the notice of intended public admonishment, including Judge Ignazio J. Ruvolo, Judge Michael Harper and Judge Erica Yew.

“In determining to impose public discipline in this matter, the commission took into account Kliszewski’s prior discipline, imposed by the Alameda County Superior Court,” according to the ruling.

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