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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Executive Order by Governor to Ensure High Quality of Judges

New York State Executive Chamber | Governor Eliot Spitzer

Press Releases | Speeches | Executive Orders | Proclamations

EXECUTIVE ORDER

No 4: ESTABLISHING JUDICIAL SCREENING COMMITTEES TO ENSURE THAT JUDICIAL OFFICER APPOINTMENTS ARE OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY

WHEREAS, under the Constitution and Laws of the State of New York the Governor is entrusted with the responsibility of appointing judicial officers to the offices of Judge and Presiding Judge of the Court of Claims; designating Justices of the Supreme Court to the offices of Justice, Temporary Justice, and Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court; and appointing judicial officers to fill vacancies in the offices of Justice of the Supreme Court, Judge of the County Court, Judge of the Surrogate=s Court, and Judge of the Family Court outside the City of New York; and

WHEREAS, a fair, impartial, independent, highly qualified, and diverse judiciary is essential to ensuring justice for all who come before New York=s courts and to fostering public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process; and

WHEREAS, a fair, impartial, independent, highly qualified, and diverse judiciary is cultivated by:

1. encouraging highly qualified candidates from all parts of the State, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, to apply for judicial offices;

2. reviewing candidates for judicial office without regard to political beliefs or party affiliation; and

3. selecting judicial officers who reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the residents of this State, based on their integrity, independence, intellect, judgment, temperament, and experience; and

WHEREAS, the highest quality of judicial appointments can best be assured with the assistance of credible, impartial and non-partisan judicial screening committees;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Eliot Spitzer, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

A. Purpose and Duties

1. Judicial Screening Committees are hereby established to evaluate the qualifications of candidates for appointment or designation to judicial office throughout the State, and to recommend to the Governor those persons who are highly qualified to hold judicial office.

2. Each Judicial Screening Committee shall:

a. Actively recruit candidates for appointment or designation to the judicial offices within the committee=s jurisdiction. In recruiting candidates, the Judicial Screening Committees shall strive to find candidates that reflect the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the citizens of this State;

b. Review and evaluate the qualifications of all candidates for appointment or designation. In reviewing and evaluating the qualifications of candidates, each committee member shall give primary consideration to each candidate=s integrity, independence, intellect, judgment, temperament and experience, and shall not give any consideration to the age, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status or political party affiliation of the candidate;

c. Recommend for appointment or designation only those candidates who, as determined by a majority vote of all members of the committee, are highly qualified for the judicial office for which they are being considered. No committee shall pass on the qualifications of any candidate until after a thorough inquiry has been made by the committee and its staff;

d. Prepare written reports on the qualifications of each candidate it determines to be highly qualified and recommends to the Governor. Committee reports shall be made available to the public upon the announcement by the Governor of an appointment. All other records and deliberations of, and all communications to, any Judicial Screening Committee with respect to a candidate shall be held in confidence and shall not be disclosed to anyone other than the Governor, Counsel to the Governor, or their designees. Notwithstanding the foregoing, information submitted to any Judicial Screening Committee relating to an appointee may be disclosed to the Senate when necessary for confirmation of the appointee, and information submitted to a Judicial Screening Committee may be disclosed to any other person or organization if disclosure is required in connection with disciplinary proceedings or is otherwise required by law.

B. State Judicial Screening Committee

1. A State Judicial Screening Committee is hereby established.

2. The State Judicial Screening Committee shall consist of thirteen members: two individuals selected by the Governor; the Chairperson of each of the Departmental Judicial Screening Committees established by Section C of this Executive Order; one of the other members of each of the Departmental Judicial Screening Committees, who shall be selected by the Governor; two persons selected by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; and one person selected by the Attorney General. The chairperson of the State Judicial Screening Committee shall be appointed by the Governor from among the members of the Committee.

3. The term of office of any member of the State Judicial Screening Committee who is a member of a Departmental Screening Committee shall expire at the same time as the member=s term of office on the Departmental Screening Committee expires.

4. The State Judicial Screening Committee shall have jurisdiction to consider the qualifications of candidates for appointment to the offices of Judge and Presiding Judge of the Court of Claims, and to recommend to the Governor all persons whom it finds highly qualified for those judicial offices.

5. When exercising the power to designate the Presiding Judge of the Court of Claims pursuant to section 2(6) of the Court of Claims Act; or the power to appoint a Judge of the Court of Claims pursuant to section 9 of Article VI of the Constitution and section 2(2) and 2(4) of the Court of Claims Act; or the power to fill a vacancy in the office of Judge of the Court of Claims pursuant to section 21(b) of Article VI of the Constitution, the Governor shall appoint or designate only persons who have been recommended by the State Judicial Screening Committee as highly qualified for the judicial office to which the appointment or designation is to be made.

6. The State Judicial Screening Committee shall promulgate appropriate rules and regulations to govern its proceedings and those of the Departmental and County Judicial Screening Committees established by this Order. The rules and regulations shall include standards and procedures for ensuring, to the extent possible, uniformity of criteria for evaluating the qualifications of candidates for appointment or designation to judicial office throughout the State.

C. Departmental Judicial Screening Committees

1. A Departmental Judicial Screening Committee is hereby established in each judicial department of the State.

2. Each Departmental Judicial Screening Committee shall consist of thirteen members: five members shall be selected by the Governor; two members shall be selected by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals; two members shall be selected by the Attorney General; one member shall be selected by the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division for that department; one member shall be selected jointly by the Speaker of the Assembly and the Minority Leader of the Senate; one member shall be selected jointly by the Majority Leader of the Senate and the Minority Leader of the Assembly; and one member shall be selected by the President of the New York State Bar Association. The Chairperson of each Departmental Screening Committee shall be appointed by the Governor from among the members of the Committee. Each member of the Committee shall be a resident of, have an office in, or work in the judicial department in which he or she is to serve.

3. Each Departmental Judicial Screening Committee shall have jurisdiction to consider the qualifications of candidates for designation to the offices of Justice, Additional Justice, Temporary Justice and Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for such department, and candidates for appointment to the office of Supreme Court Justice within such department, and to recommend to the Governor all persons whom it finds highly qualified for those judicial offices.

4. When exercising the power to designate the Presiding Justice of each Appellate Division pursuant to section 4(c) of Article VI of the Constitution; or the power to designate other Justices of any Appellate Division pursuant to sections 4(c) and 4(d) of Article VI of the Constitution; or the power to designate Additional Justices of any Appellate Division pursuant to section 4(e) of Article VI of the Constitution; or the power to fill a vacancy in the office of Justice of the Supreme Court pursuant to section 21(a) of Article VI of the Constitution, the Governor shall appoint or designate only persons who have been recommended by a Departmental Judicial Screening Committee as highly qualified for the judicial office to which the appointment is to be made.

5. A candidate recommended as highly qualified for the office of Justice or Additional Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court by a Departmental Screening Committee shall be eligible for appointment or designation by the Governor to such office in any judicial department. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person serving as a Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court may be designated by the Governor to serve as an Additional Justice, and a person serving as an Additional Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court may be designated by the Governor to serve as a Justice, of the same or a different judicial department without the recommendation of a Departmental Screening Committee.

D. County Judicial Screening Committees

1. A County Judicial Screening Committee is hereby established in each county of the State, consisting of the members of the Departmental Judicial Screening Committee for the department in which the county is located plus one additional person who shall be resident of, have an office in, or work in the county in which he or she is to serve, to be selected by the chief executive officer of the county. The Chairman of the Departmental Judicial Screening Committee shall also serve as Chairman of the County Judicial Screening Committee. As used herein, the term "chief executive officer" for the county shall mean the appointed or elected county executive, as the case may be, or if there be no such office, the chairman of the governing body of the county; provided, however, that for counties within the City of New York, the term "chief executive officer" for the county shall mean the Mayor of the City of New York.

2. Each County Judicial Screening Committee shall have jurisdiction to consider the qualifications of candidates for appointment to the offices of Judge of the County Court, Judge of the Surrogate=s Court, and Judge of the Family Court outside of the City of New York, for such county, and to recommend to the Governor all persons whom it finds highly qualified for those judicial offices. When exercising the power of appointment to fill a vacancy in the office of Judge of the County Court, Judge of the Surrogate's Court, or of Judge of the Family Court outside of the City of New York, pursuant to section 21(a) of Article VI of the Constitution, the Governor shall appoint only persons who have been recommended by the appropriate County Judicial Screening Committee as highly qualified for the judicial office to which the appointment is to be made.

E. General Provisions

1. The terms of office of the members of the Judicial Screening Committees established by this Executive Order shall be for a term of three years, except that with respect to the Departmental Screening Committees: one member first selected by the Governor shall serve for a term of one year; two members first selected by the Governor shall serve for a term of two years; one member first selected by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals shall serve for a term of two years; and one member first selected by the Attorney General shall serve for a term of two years. The terms of office of the members of the Judicial Screening Committees established by this Executive Order are subject to the provisions of section 5 of the Public Officers Law.

2. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as initial appointments, and a person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term. No member shall be removed during his or her term by the Governor except for cause.

3. No member of a Judicial Screening Committee shall hold any judicial or elected public office for which he shall receive compensation during his period of service, nor shall he hold any office in any political party. No member of a Judicial Screening Committee shall be eligible for appointment to any judicial office within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Screening Committee on which the member serves during the member=s period of service or within one year thereafter.

4. Members of Judicial Screening Committees shall receive no compensation for their service, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for any necessary expenses incurred by them in connection with the performance of their duties. Each judicial screening committee shall have a paid staff available to it sufficient to enable the committee to carry out properly its responsibilities including adequate investigations into all matters relevant to the qualifications of candidates for appointment to judicial office.

5. Except as may be necessary or appropriate prior to the time the Judicial Screening Committees established by this Executive Order are fully operational, the power to fill a vacancy in a judicial office will be exercised by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of this Executive Order.

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this first day of January in the year two thousand seven.

Eliot Spitzer, Governor

Richard Baum, Secretary to the Governor

13 comments:

gopher said...

these people are drinking Kool-Aid

Anonymous said...

I thouyght Paterson might be okay.
I see i am wrong.
As far as reinbursing money to the judicial screening members. What are they going to give out the free ez- passes that they took away from the MTA board members.
Commitee members are going to be going to Scotland on golf outings
and eating at the expensive resturants in the city and writting it off.
All this appears is that in order to become a judge you had to pay-off 6 people now you pay off 13
and thier wives/girlfriends
or thier relatives. This does no go far enough. He should rotate the staff so it does not become a
committe of political hacks like the DDC. If the courts are by the people for the people ask for 1/2 the pannel to be regular people.
People without thier own pollitical motives.

Anonymous said...

This isn't Patterson, it's a Spitzer Order..

Anonymous said...

and kinda usurpy at that...

Anonymous said...

Be reminded that any and all judicial and non-judicial resumes will be packed with ethical statements, superior work evaluations and little or no connections to anyone politically potent!

A crock of S*** that is being used today, to put judges in ACTING positions, appointments and non-judicial judges girlfriends in positions where they can barely read and definitely cannot write, and know little about the law and its applications, but are making close to $100,000!

It can never work, as long as the politicos are involved in anyway or form!
Also...it is a Spitzer edict and Paterson is bent on not continuing his methods.

I want to read what Paterson writes and believes should happen!

manhattan victim said...

this was eyewash feel good stuff from the conman Spitzer. They put all the right things down on paper and then they proceed to do whatever they want!

manhattan victim said...

this was eyewash feel good stuff from the conman Spitzer. They put all the right things down on paper and then they proceed to do whatever they want!

Anonymous said...

they are all con men, the whole thing is a sham

Anonymous said...

Why am I not finding the authority for the way these executive orders are being carried out?

Anonymous said...

There probably isn't any authority..because NY state found it doesn't have to produce any..who would rule that they need it?
The people running the state and courthouses are of a criminal mentality anyway...raised by parents who surely lied, stole and corrupted most of their own adult lives...children learn their evil ways from their parents!
Hopefully their children leave NY STATE and corrupt somewhere else, where they take corruption in government seriously!

Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that with the right litigant alot of decisions could be overtuned...

Anonymous said...

The above comment is exactly correct!
Attorneys do not want to do it..if they know enough to do it, and clients are not educated enough in the convoluted laws, to suggest it!
Donald Trump would be a perfect person to address the court corruption...tons of cash and investigates everything.....he takes no hostages!
Isn't he pissed off at the courts for something??

westchester resident said...

High Quality of Judges! What exactly does that mean? Does it mean that the "High Quality Judges" have figured out how to extract larger bribes? Is that it?

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2