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Humboldt County judge resigns after misconduct, barred from judiciary

A bald man wearing black judges robes and a green tie, He is smiling at the camera with a blurry courtroom in the background
Gregory Kreis
Former Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Gregory Kreis

A Superior Court judge in Humboldt County has resigned and admitted to 17 counts of wrongdoing while in office.

In an agreement with the state Commission on Judicial Performance, Judge Gregory Kreis has resigned from office, and has promised to never serve in California courts again.

Most of the 17 counts of misconduct stem from failing to disclose his personal relationships with other attorneys and clients involved in cases he presided over. In the decision, the commission said this kind of misconduct is serious, as it undermines the public’s confidence in the judiciary. Kreis also made inappropriate remarks on multiple occasions, lied about being disciplined by the CJP in the past and groped someone without their consent.

"Treating women disrespectfully, including unwanted touching, reflects a sense of entitlement completely at odds with the canons of judicial ethics and the role of any judge," the decision said. "Sexual misconduct has no place in the judiciary and is an affront to the dignity of the judicial office."

Kreis and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

Kreis recently lost re-election by a significant margin to April Van Dyke during the March presidential primary.

Van Dyke moved to Humboldt County in 2019 and specializes in representing clients who can’t afford a lawyer. She will take Kreis’ seat next January. In the interim, other judges will take up Kreis’ duties, starting with Judge Kelly Neel.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.