Judges hold a place of power within our legal vocation. In the judicial standards, judges are called upon to be leaders when it comes to civility.” State and national codes of judicial conduct require juries to be patient, respectful and courteous to everyone in the courtroom.
Despite these cautions, we believe in the drift and dialogue among judges, lawyers have worsened as norms of satisfactory behavior outside the courtroom have shifted. “What is civility in this day is subject to clarification.” To try and get back to a situation where we hold civility and collegiality as a profession is a ways off.
There is a lot at the post: Public trust in the judicial and legal system, respect for the courts, and assurance in the rule of law. It’s mandatory on judges to model professionalism in their courtrooms, respect all parties and shut down incivility when it starts.
We call on judges not only to represent polite behavior and civility but also to require that of other courthouse persons and lawyers who come before them. But it’s no secret that judges do not always reveal those qualities. Some of the most high-profile examples of judicial maltreatment have transpired in criminal cases, where sensations on all sides often run high.
Unfortunately, the system is full of intimidators, even in very high seats. “Criminal defendants are regular targets and so are their lawyers,” says Abbe Smith, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Getting whacked down, robed down, and put down is part of the job.”
The burden is on judges to uphold dignity in the courtroom and to guarantee civility. There are a variety of classes and programs to help judges direct the emotions and duties of the job.
Maltreatment is never REASONABLE while admitting the pressure judges face on a daily basis. “It starts out with basic respect. You’re in a combative process from the beginning to the end. But even though I say in the courtroom the burden is on the judge, the lawyers, clerk and the entire courtroom also have responsibilities.
There are disciplinary authorities that fall short of notice. These range from proper advice through warnings. Judges may also be suspended from office. But before any judge can be disciplined there has to be an enquiry. The selected judge for the enquiry must be no lower in rank than the office-holder under examination. The nominated judge has the job of forming the facts, determining whether they amount to misconduct and advising what disciplinary action.
If a nominated judge endorses suspension or elimination from office, the judicial office-holder may ask for the objection to be measured by a disciplinary panel.
There is no sensible justification for as long as greater privacy security to the judiciary than to any other professional. The public interest in transparency is, if anything, greater in respect of the judiciary than it is in respect of other legal professionals.”
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