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Monday, May 3, 2010

The Washington Post: Judges and Conflicts

Judges and conflicts
The Washington Post - EDITORIAL - May 3, 2010

Ensuring that every litigant gets an impartial hearing

LAST YEAR, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a judge's refusal to step aside from cases in which he or she has a conflict of interest could raise questions about impartiality and undermine the Constitution's guarantee of due process. The case involved a state Supreme Court justice in West Virginia who declined to step down from a matter in which a big campaign contributor had an interest. Abolishing judicial elections would go a long way toward eliminating these kinds of problems, while insulating judges from the corrosive effects of money and politics. But even appointed judges face conflicts, including those triggered by financial holdings or relationships with parties or lawyers who appear before them. Yet challenging a judge who has a potential conflict can be virtually impossible in some jurisdictions. And even states that have a process for challenging both trial and appeals court judges most often leave the recusal decision to the judge in question, with no opportunity for impartial review. A proposal by the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers offers improvements. The proposal calls on courts to make available with sufficient lead time the names of the judges scheduled to hear an appeal. Without such warning, lawyers and litigants might not know that a judge with a possible conflict is sitting on the case until they enter the courtroom. Raising an objection then is awkward, to say the least, and probably futile. Judges with potential conflicts should continue to be given the first opportunity to decide whether recusal is warranted. But the proposal urges courts to review these decisions if a party to the case requests it. These reviews may be done by the chief judge or by a jurist designated as the "ethics officer." Courts should also adopt rules that require judges in most instances to explain why they have recused themselves; such explanations could help avert future conflicts.


Good Start by Washington Post said...

The United States of a Conflicted Judiciary, that's what we've become. The Washington Post should also address the national need to eliminate judicial immunity!

T Finnan said...

The Washington Post and the NY Times follow the same, "All the lies fitted into print." In regard, an appointed judiciary, we have in example, Chief Judge Lippman. Maybe in a far off State, an appellate review panel will stop judicial conflicts of interest. And, of course, we have Tembeckjian to rid our courts of such a scourge.

Anonymous said...

Ensuring that every litigant gets an impartial hanging unless, of course, you have contributed to Howe Dowe Screw Them Stein!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

OF course Judges in New York make sure that every litigant not part of their private pay off and kick back deals gets legally raped, legally destroyed, legally terrorized and if the poor litigant is luckly he or she may spend a nice vacation in jail courtesy of these criminals running the New York State judicial system.

Jail4Judges said...

Judges have never met a conflict they didn't like, it's always good for business.

Anonymous said...


No Probable Cause said...

Look at the current situation happening to a property owner in Kanawha County West Virgnia. This could happen to any property owner if this corrupt Magistrate remains on the bench.

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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
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