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Ventura County judge censured for offensive remarks

VENTURA, Calif. — A California judge has been publicly censured for making dozens of sexist, racially insensitive and dishonest remarks from the bench over a decade, the state Commission on Judicial Performance announced Wednesday.

The commission said Judge Jeffrey G. Bennett of Ventura County Superior Court consented to the discipline, which is a step below removal from office.

The commission said that Bennett, who was elected in 2008, committed 28 acts of misconduct that violated the state Code of Judicial Ethics.

Most involved remarks “that are offensive, undignified, discourteous, dishonest, sexist, and profane, and that created the appearance of bias and retaliation,” the commission said.

“Such comments included remarks to an African American criminal defendant about ’shucking and jiving,’ making crude references to his anatomy, commenting about ‘chicks’ liking a car and about not spending so much time with his telescope if he had a ‘20-year-old smoking hot wife,’ and using profanity in other remarks, according to a commission statement.

Bennett acknowledged nearly all of the misconduct, the commission said.

Earlier this month, Bennett’s attorneys told the Ventura County Star that the judge “is known for his refreshing ‘tell it like it is’ approach to life and his sense of humor” but that he had apologized to the commission and “implemented a thoughtfully developed plan for improvement and change.”

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