A state watchdog has censured Kern County Superior Court judge Cory Woodward for having a sexual relationship with a clerk. The decision also states that Woodward attempted to mislead the court about the relationship.
According to the Commission on Judicial Performance, the court received multiple complaints about both the judge’s and the clerk’s professional conduct. Woodward has admitted to having sex with the clerk in chambers and in public places, as well as passing notes of a sexual nature to her during court proceedings. On multiple occasions, Woodward also thwarted the court’s attempt to reassign the clerk to other judges.
The commission stopped short of firing Woodward on the grounds that he is a “respected, hardworking, intelligent and conscientious judge,” and because he cooperated with the commission’s investigation. Woodward has been a judge since 2007.