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Judge Silverman reprimanded for behavior in court

By KERRI REMPP, Record staff writer Record staff writer Tuesday, June
08, 2010

Dawes County District Court Judge Brian Silverman has been officially
reprimanded by the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission for
remarks he made in a child custody case last year.

The commission’s opinion was released last week. The incident occurred
during a hearing in a child custody case in February 2009 in the case
of Cari Goodwin v. Derek Goodwin. According to the commission’s
opinion, Derek refused to acknowledge a December 2008 agreement
regarding custody and a purge plan for child support. Silverman
informed Derek, who was behind in his child support, if he proceeded
with a trial on custody issues, the agreement would be revoked and he
would be sent to jail. Derek filed a complaint saying Silverman raised
his voice and addressed him in “an impatient, discourteous, angry and
condescending tone and demeanor.”

The commission agreed that Silverman’s behavior violated the judicial
code of conduct requiring judges to uphold the integrity and
independence of the judiciary, to avoid impropriety and the appearance
thereof and to perform the duties of the office impartially and

“The commission finds that Judge Silverman’s conduct at the Feb. 18,
2009, hearing was prejudicial to the administration of justice and
brings the judicial office into disrepute,” the opinion states.

The document goes on to note that Silverman fully cooperated with the

“He readily admitted his violation of the code of judicial conduct.
Judge Silverman was cooperative and complied with the commission
during its investigation of this matter and has been open and candid
in his responses,” the opinion states. “Judge Silverman has no history
of prior discipline. He has acknowledged that his statements and
demeanor at the Feb. 18, 2009, hearing fell short of that which is
required under the Nebraska code of judicial conduct. Judge Silverman
has acknowledged that he was neither dignified nor courteous … and
that he should have allowed a full hearing on the custody issues.”

The commission went on to say that it recognizes the frustration
Silverman experienced as a result of the child support arrears and
that the judge has apologized for his actions.