California Judge Greg Kreis Hit With Inappropriate Behavior Complaint

california judge complaint

A California judge has been accused of bizarre sexual behavior, using cocaine, and demeaning a colleague as a “Jewboy” in a sweeping complaint filed by the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance.

Greg Kreis is an elected judge from northern California, having served on Humboldt County Superior Court since 2017. (He was initially appointed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.) He is up for reelection this year, touting “a commitment to public service.” But the charges lodged earlier this month allege Kreis has engaged in “willful misconduct in office” as well as “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

The judge is accused of behavior that would make most frat boys blush. At a 2019 summer social gathering referred to as the “Antlers Campout,” for example, Kreis is alleged to have vaped cannabis before boarding a pontoon boat, where he proceeded to drink until the point of apparent intoxication. He then allegedly demeaned a deputy public defender as “Jewboy” — repeatedly — before shoving this man, fully clothed, off the boat and into the water. 

During this same boat party, Kreis allegedly pantomimed performing “something similar to a lap dance” on the wife of another public defender. The complaint describes this woman as wearing a bathing suit and holding her youngest child. The document — which addresses Kreis directly throughout — alleges “you moved your body and moaned or made other noises that suggested you were having sex” with her.

Some of the egregious behavior alleged occurred prior to Kreis’ service on the bench, but the commission says it nonetheless “brings the judicial office into disrepute.” The report describes a party “in approximately 2015” at the home of a friend of Kreis. “You went into [her] bedroom while she was sleeping, pulled down your pants, and had your penis out and near her face as you tried to awaken her,” it states. 

The complaint also alleges that Kreis “frequently used cocaine” during a period from 2013 to 2017 before he became a judge, highlighting an October 2015 outing when he allegedly “drove two attorneys to a house in Humboldt Hill for the purpose of purchasing cocaine,” adding: “On the return trip, you used cocaine while driving.”

Kreis’ in-court behavior toward legal colleagues is also called to account. Shortly before becoming a judge, Kreis served as an attorney and allegedly referred to a deputy district attorney as a “bitch” or a “pretentious bitch.”

In an Instagram post, Kreis writes he is “confident” that formal proceedings will “clear my name” and that the “allegations and outright lies will be dismissed.” Kreis also insinuates that politics are at play in the charges. “It’s not surprising that these salacious and false allegations, some of them over a decade old, are being made in a highly public way the same week ballots are out in a campaign for reelection,” he writes. 

The Commission on Judicial Performance is an independent state agency that investigates judicial misconduct. The charges against Kreis were brought following a preliminary investigation. In response to a request by Rolling Stone, Kreis replied, “I have been advised by my attorney to make no statements at this time.” 

As a judge, the complaint also alleges, Kreis carried on an affair with a colleague on the court. When a clerk began discussing that relationship with other court staff, Kreis allegedly complained to another judge and to the court’s executive officer that the clerk was “spreading false rumors” about him. The clerk was later terminated. The complaint alleges that Kreis was “in fact having a sexual or romantic relationship,” and by “making false or misleading statements” to court officers, he “violated the Code of Judicial Ethics.”

Judge Kreis is also accused of inappropriate touching at a 2018 social gathering where he was drinking. The report describes his interactions with a married couple whom Kreis knew only loosely. “As you were leaving, you hugged [the husband], grabbed and/or slapped his buttocks, and said words to the effect of …  ‘your wife’s going to get one, too.’” After the woman “firmly” told Kreis not to touch her, the complaint alleges, “you told her that you were going to do it anyway, and then hugged her and grabbed or slapped her buttock(s) without her consent.”

During his tenure as a judge, Kreis is also alleged to have taken a carload of passengers — several of whom were drinking in his vehicle — on a tour of historic homes in the city of Eureka. The complaint alleges Kreis also had booze with him. “While you drove, you had a cup containing an alcoholic drink in one of your hands and steered with your other hand,” it says.


The 19-count complaint additionally accuses Kreis of several professional lapses on the bench, including failing to make proper ethics disclosures or recuse himself from cases involving attorneys with whom he maintained friendships or complicated social relationships.

Kreis has until Feb. 20 to respond in writing to the San Francisco-based commission, which can impose sanctions up to removal from office. His election opponent is a former public defender, April Van Dyke, who is running on a platform of “promoting equality, inclusion, and honesty” in the courtroom.

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