Judge Cupp reprimanded for campaigning for another judicial candidate
The Supreme Court has ordered a 20th Circuit judge to receive a public reprimand after he admitted improperly supporting an attorney’s 2020 campaign for county judge.
In a unanimous May 15 opinion, justices approved a stipulated agreement between the Judicial Qualifications Commission and Judge Scott Cupp.
“Judge Cupp admits that his conduct making unsolicited contact with many influential members of the Hendry County community, during which he expressed his preference for a certain candidate in a judicial race, and in some instances requested that the community member support his favored candidate, was not only inappropriate, but violated Canons of Judicial Conduct 1, 2B, and 7A(1)(b) and damaged the integrity of the judiciary by creating the appearance that he was interceding in a judicial election,” the opinion states.
In a March 15 notice of formal charges, the JQC noted that Judge Cupp continued to urge support for the candidate after an administrative judge, and later, the chief judge, told him they were concerned.
The JQC also accused Cupp of violating Canon 7 and campaign finance laws by failing to designate a treasurer and open an account with the Division of Elections before he loaned $9,500 to his 2020 reelection campaign and spent approximately $6,000.
However, the opinion also notes that when he was presented with the formal charges, Judge Cupp “took immediate responsibility for his conduct.” The opinion also notes that Judge Cupp has no prior history of ethical violations or a disciplinary record with the Bar during his 34-year career as a lawyer.
“The Commission also noted that Judge Cupp has a renewed commitment and understanding of what it takes to protect the public’s perception of the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary, and is persuaded that Judge Cupp will never again engage in such conduct,” the opinion states.
The opinion was issued in Inquiry Concerning a Judge No. 20-366 Re: Scott Cupp.