9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski faces a misconduct complaint that accuses him of illegally disabling Web site filtering software in 2001.

As Pamela MacLean (Law.com) reports:

A potentially more serious problem for Kozinski is [the] resurrection of the 2001 internal bureaucratic fight over court monitoring of use of government computers to download movies and music.

[The] complaint includes among the 80 pages of documents, a scathing October 2007 letter from retired court administrator L. Ralph Mecham, who wrote to the head of the Judicial Conduct Committee for the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which sets policies for the federal judiciary.

Mecham, who managed the federal courts for 21 years, recounted the 2001 episode of Kozinski and former Circuit Executive Greg Walters disabling the monitoring software used for three circuits. His 16-page letter to committee chairman, Judge Ralph K. Winter, says Kozinski’s action was considered by government lawyers “not only ‘illegal’ but constituted at least one felony” citing 18 U.S.C. 1361, destruction of government property.

Mecham wrote that although the 9th Circuit’s then-Chief Judge Mary Schroeder knew of the issue, as did the circuit judicial council, no misconduct complaint was brought against Kozinski at the time.

“It is my strongly held view that this total absence of action is the worst example of failure by those responssible for disciplining judges that I have witnessed during my 21 years as AO director,” Mecham’s letter states.

Read MacLean’s article, which contains numerous URL-links for further reading.