Saturday, 2:15 PM
Plymouth probate judge resigns over misconduct charges
By Globe Staff
A Plymouth County probate and family court judge who was accused of breaking the rules of conduct for judges by operating a real estate business has agreed to resolve the charges against him by retiring, the state Commission on Judicial Conduct said today.
"I sincerely regret having created, in my private life, an appearance of impropriety, which although I never intended, violated my obligation to conform even my off-the-bench conduct to the code that governs all judges," Judge Michael J. Livingstone said in a public apology issued as part of his agreement settling the case.
Livingstone said in the letter that he took "full responsibility" for his conduct and he hoped that his voluntary resignation would preserve public confidence in the judiciary.
Livingstone had been accused of running a real estate business and collecting attorney fees over four years, violating rules that require judges to stay away from commercial enterprises.
The commission alleged that the judge claimed to have an arm's-length relationship with both his real estate firm and his former private law practice.
However, the commission alleged, Livingstone sent a threatening letter to a tenant, collected and deposited rent checks, secretly collected fees from former law clients through an arrangement with another lawyer, and claimed business expenses on his tax returns related to his supposedly closed law practice.
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