Demotion and Suspension Recommended for Tax Court Judge

Published On: 22nd May 2013

From the internet

It has been recommended that a Minnesota Tax Court judge be demoted and then suspended for 9 months without pay for flouting the 3 month deadline to issue opinions on cases on a regular basis, thus falsifying dates to cover his action.

The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards wrote that he knew better in their 35-page findings that called for the suspension of the judge, George Perez, for not complying with the deadlines in place for deciding cases.

Perez was replaced as chief judge after the charges were filed against him. In those charges, it was alleged that he manipulated due dates in a number of cases in order to postpone his decisions.

The panel stated that the matters were quite serious, adding that the punishment needed to be one that instilled confidence and the judiciary and deterred such behavior from happening in the future.

The formal recommendations include the suspension, a censure, and that Perez no longer serve as chief judge for the remainder of his term. The board also recommended that status reports be submitted by Perez on the cases that he is to preside over and notify the chief judge when a deadline needs to be extended for a case, accompanied by an explanation why. The recommendation will now be heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will then levy the punishment, if any. Punishment can range from removal of his post to a private reprimand.

Perez’s attorney has stated that they will likely ask the Supreme Court for a reduction in the penalty because it is felt the suspension recommendation is excessive.

Nonetheless, the panel noted that Perez’s actions had gone on for quite some time, so they were not a secret. They said that Judge Perez was not issuing his decisions in a timely manner and it appears that the issue had been well-known by the staff and other judges of the Tax Court for quite some time. They also stated that it appears the problem was able to persist due to a lack of oversight technologically and organizationally.

Perez is a 15-year veteran of the three-judge tax court, which is for taxpayers to appeal local and state taxes. At the time of the complaint against Perez, he was the only judge serving on the Tax Court due to the departures of two of his colleagues. Governor Mark Dayton has now appointed two judges to fill those vacancies.