ⓘ Blog | Judicial misconduct - judiciaries ..

Judicial misconduct

Judicial misconduct occurs when a judge acts in ways that are considered unethical or otherwise violate the judges obligations of impartial conduct. Actions that can be classified as judicial misconduct include: conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts as an extreme example: "falsification of facts" at summary judgment; using the judges office to obtain special treatment for friends or relatives; accepting bribes, gifts, or other personal favors related to the judicial office; having improper discussions with parties or counsel for one side in a case; treating litigants or attorneys in a demonstrably egregious and hostile manner; violating other specific, mandatory standards of judicial conduct, such as judicial rules of procedure or evidence, or those pertaining to restrictions on outside income and requirements for financial disclosure; and acting outside the jurisdiction of the court, or performance of official duties if the conduct might have a prejudicial effect on the administration of the business of the courts among reasonable people. Rules of official misconduct also include rules concerning disability, which is a temporary or permanent condition rendering judge unable to discharge the duties of the particular judicial office. Judicial misconduct leads only seldom to a formal investigation. A court decision is not beyond critique. Defendants may be coaxed to enter into plea bargains that rob the public from a fair trial and from knowing the truth. Court decisions cannot be assumed just. They are subject to critical public appraisal as any human decision.

Vermont vs Hunt (1982)

The case Vermont vs Hunt had two major outcomes. One was a ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court that side judges had the right to vote on plea agreements. The second was a lengthy review of judges conduct used to reach this conclusion. This resulted in the state Judicial Conduct Board bringing 24 formal charges against three Supreme Court judges.

Art. 23 1/15, Art. 23 2/15 and Art. 23 1/16

Art. 23 1/15, Art. 23 2/15 and Art. 23 1/16 are three related cases decided by the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office concerning the removal from office of Patrick Corcoran, a member of the Boards of Appeal, who had been previously suspended by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. According to Article 23 EPC, members of the Boards of Appeal may only be removed from office by the Administrative Council on a proposal from the Enlarged Board of Appeal. Two cases were successively initiated by the Administrative Council, but the Enlarged Board eventually dismissed both of them. In the third case initiated by the Administrative Council, the Enlarged Board decided not to propose the removal from office of Corcoran.

Impeachment investigations of United States federal judges

Impeachment is the procedure in which a legislative body, like the US Congress, can punish or remove government officials from their positions. This is a way for the legislative branch to check and balance the executive and judicial branches and police itself as well. Usually, misbehavior is brought to the attention of a legislator, who may call upon the House Judiciary Committee to investigate. After a review of the Committees findings, the Committee acts as a sheriff or prosecutor and may bring charges against the individual.} In which case, the entire House takes on the roll of jury and votes as to his guilt or innocence of "high crimes and misdemeanors".} If a majority of the members of the House of Representatives vote to impeach, the impeachment is referred to the Senate for trial. A conviction requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate. That does not make him guilty of a crime, he merely loses his job. The individual may or may not then stand trial in a criminal court as well, before a jury of his peers. Often the two procedures occur together. In the criminal trial he may be punished with fines and/or incarceration. As of December 2019, there have been 66 federal judges or Supreme Court Justices investigated for impeachment.

Judicial Complaints Reviewer

The Judicial Complaints Reviewer is a Scottish official who is responsible for reviewing the handling of complaints against the judiciary of Scotland by the Judicial Office for Scotland. The post was established in 2011 as a result of the Judiciary and Courts Act 2008. The Reviewer is appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, with the approval of the Lord President of the Court of Session. The Reviewers services are open to those who have complained about the conduct of a member of the judiciary, and also to members of the judiciary who have been the subject of a complaint. The first Judicial Complaints Reviewer was Moi Ali, 2011-2014 and the second was Gillian Thompson; who was appointed on 1 September 2014. The third reviewer takes up the role on 1 September 2017.

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office is an independent statutory office in the England whose remit is to investigate allegations of Judicial misconduct. Their offices are located in the Royal Courts of Justice, London. Their role is to support the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice who share responsibility for judicial discipline in England and Wales. It was established on 1 October 2013 when it replaced the Office for Judicial Complaints. The equivalent in Scotland is the Judicial Complaints Reviewer. The body was created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The JCIO publishes "Disciplinary statements" when they issue a disciplinary sanction to a judicial office holder upon finding of misconduct. Such statements are deleted after one year for sanctions below removal from office, after five years when the sanction is removal from office. However the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice may, at their discretion, decline to publish a disciplinary statement.