Kern County Superior Court judge censured by watchdog agency

A judge from Kern County and another from Orange County have been censured by a California watchdog agency for sexual misconduct and other misbehavior.

The Commission on Judicial Performance said Tuesday that Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner was censured for having sex with two women in his chambers, contacting prosecutors about jobs for a woman he was having an affair with, and failing to disqualify himself from a case involving a friend.

Also censured was Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward. The commission says Woodward had a sexual relationship with a court clerk and resisted efforts to reassign the clerk. He is accused of misleading the court about the relationship.

From approximately July 2012 through mid-May 2013, the judge was involved in an intimate relationship with a courtroom clerk assigned to him, according to the commission.

The commission states that Judge Woodward engaged in sexual activity with his clerk in his chambers and in public places. The judge used the court's computers to regularly exchange personal emails or texts with the clerk that were unrelated to court business and occasionally passed notes of a sexual nature to her during court proceedings.

Woodward cooperated fully with the inquiry and feels "great remorse" for his actions, said Paul S. Meyer, an attorney for the judge.

"He has apologized and appreciates the thorough review of the Commission in this matter," Meyer said in a written statement.

Both judges will remain on the bench despite the censures.

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