Judicial Conduct no word count
research about different aspects of judicial abuse of power.
- Judicial misconduct
- Judicial ethics
- Conflict of interest
discuss the following scenario and give reasons for your answers.
An angry state judge held state attorneys in contempt for failing to follow a court order and deliver critical documents to defendant Anne Marie Johnson’s attorneys. Judge Joe Wilson yelled in open court, “That was an official court order; is everyone at the state attorney’s office just out to lunch or simply dumb? I don’t issue these court orders just to hear myself talk!” It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a judge to hold prosecutors in contempt, but Judge Wilson entered a contempt charge for the prosecutors assigned to this case and ordered each to spend forty-eight hours in jail with a $500 fine. Judge Wilson and Anne Marie Johnson were later seen having late night coffee at a local coffee shop by an intern who works in the prosecutor’s office. On the basis of the above scenario, answer the following:
- Discuss the effects of judicial abuse of power and misconduct, as well as any remedies.
- Present an argument both for and against Judge Wilson for judicial disqualification or recusal from the case.
- Discuss whether there is any harm in Judge Wilson having coffee with Anne Marie Johnson.
- Discuss whether there is concern for the tone and language Judge Wilson used when speaking to state attorneys.
part 2 respond to two post below 150 word count each
After completing the reading assignment for the week and gaining a better understanding of Judicial Conduct, Judge Joe Wilsons behavior definitely raised some concerns. When judicial abuse is committed, everyone involved can be negatively affected. Innocent people can be unjustly convicted, lots of money can be wasted and peoples jobs can be placed on the line. Though upheld to a high standard, there are a lot of unethical people in the judicial system. I believe the only way to remedy these types of things is to consistently police the police, judges and all people within the judicial system on a consistent basis. Rules are set in place, but aren’t enforced as often as they should be.
“In cases where the judge’s knowledge of the parties or her interests would preclude a fair and disinterested control of the proceedings, the judge should withdraw from the case. A withdrawal from sitting in judgment of the case is known as a “recusal.” A judge would withdraw from a case if the case involved friends, family, a former client, or a former law firm or business associate. The judge’s recusalwould operate to assure that another independent and unbiased judge would preside over the proceedings (01/2011). American Criminal Courts, 1st Edition..”)
Although we don’t know what the meeting between Judge Wilson and Ms. Johnson was, with Judge Wilson presiding over her case, he shouldn’t be interacting with her on that level. The causes on why a judge should withdraw themselves from a case are pretty cut and dry. With the causes being broad, I personally cant think of a reason why the two should be sitting and having coffee. Judge Wilson also violated a few or more judicial conduct standards with one being avoiding conflict of interest. The two of them having coffee jeopardizes the entire case and one could argue that is the reasoning behind Judge Wilsons outburst in court. His outburst, insult and 48hr sentence along with the 500 fine is definitely questionable.
Judges are found to apply and adhere to the law. “Judges are appointed by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and serve for life or good behavior” (Volcansek, Franciscis, Elisabetta, Lafon, Lucciene, 1996). A retention is held by 37 states to declare if a judge shall be removed or remain in term. This is typically declared by the governor. The remaining states hold a retention election where the people vote for the next term. According to Article 3 of the Constitution a judge shall maintain good stature during their full service, and a compensation should be given at times for their continuance of service. This compensation cannot be taken away during their time served. Article 2, Section 2 states that the judge shall be nominated by the president. Article 2, section 4 States that any government official can and will be impeached for bribery, conviction of treason, or other high crimes in nominating a judicial official. In 1787, it was declared that discipline and removal of judges gained scant attention. “the best expedient which can be devised in any government to secure a steady, upright and impartial administration of the laws” (Volcansek, Franciscis, Elisabetta, Lafon, Lucciene, 1996).
In most provisions the Supreme Court has the dominant administrative role. In federal justice systems the judicial conference has the administrative role. Congress has conduct-regulating statutes directed towards high-ranking federal officials. This means that they have the right to oversee the courts and enact regulations on judicial ethics. Judicial ethics include but are not limited to: retirement provisions, limitations on outside income, enploment and gifts, financial disclosure and judicial disqualification statutes. Retirement provisions include senior status and disability. Senior status is declared by the years of service and the age of 65. Both age and years of service must sum to 80. If a judge were to have 20 years of service and was of age 60 they could retire. Disability is the service of ten years. The judge will obtain the same salary for life as it must be signed by the Chief of Justice. Limitations on outside income, employment and gifts authorizes the judicial conference to regulate the receiving’s of gifts, and income given to the judicial branch. The financial disclosure goes along with the income reports and gifts; they must be reported each may. “The Act authorizes the Attorney General to bring a civil action against any individual who “knowingly and willfully” fails to file a report or fails to report any required information and directs the report-receiving entities, including the Conference, to refer to the Attorney General anyone whom they have “reasonable cause to believe has . . . willfully failed to file information required to be reported” (Wheeler, 2014).
Conflict of Interest
A judge must adhere to the law and not give leniency based upon knowing the person. A judge can deny a case for self-interest. Complaints can be made and reviewed by the judicial council. A judge will make decisions to benefit themselves (raises, status and deter crime). This rarely happens, however there are cases that a judge will publicize to scare other violators.
A recusal is where a judge will disqualify himself from duty for personal or lawful reasoning. “The most visible recent example of such controversy surfaced in 2011
concerning the litigation over the Affordable Care Act. Liberals called for Justice
Thomas to recuse himself because his wife was active in groups opposing the law,
and conservatives pressed for Justice Kagan to recuse herself because, as Solicitor
General, she may have had brief exposure to the administration’s efforts to plot its
litigation strategy” (Wheeler, 2014).
Judge Joe Wilson took a case personally as he knew the defendant. He certainly misused his power by giving the prosecutor 48 hours in jail and a hefty fine. The investigation of bribery should take place as Judge Wilson abused his power in the favor of Anne. Judge Wilson should be impeached or recuse himself for the abuse of his power and self interest in the case of Anne Johnson. On the other hand, who is to say that he truly abused his power as all documentation should be shared with each person in the court room. No bribery or self interest could be at place and he was holding them accountable for their actions, as a prosecutor is aware of the laws.
The late-night coffee should not have taken place as its unprofessional and no contact should be made between the judge and either party until the case is dismissed or solved. Judge Wilson should not address the attorneys as dumb. It’s again unprofessional and anger should not declare name calling or yet embarrass the attorneys in the court room.