All speakers today have emphasized the necessity of doing everything valid that we can do to sustain public confidence in the judiciary. First and foremost, we have recognized the need for mandatory and early education of judges as to the code of judicial conduct, and as to ethical considerations for judges. Second, we have found that bench and bar committees in dialogue with judges have been helpful. Third, chief judges must be willing to act to keep foreseeable situations from escalating into disciplinary proceedings. Fourth, openness and the appearance of openness are a necessity for the investigating and disciplinary process. Fifth, ethics proceedings should be expedited. Sixth, judicial discipline bodies should meet fairly regularly with groups of judges. Seventh, supreme courts and presiding judges and chief judges should establish policies and standards so that even aside from the code the judges understand what's expected from them on such things as appointments of masters and unhealthy associations. Finally, the problem of drugs and alcohol must be addressed, with remedial support possibly helping to avoid serious disciplinary problems. In conclusion, the judicial disciplinary structure must be designed to deal firmly and promptly with those rare instances when a judge's conduct is corrupt or otherwise willful and venal. Complaints against judicial failures that relate to bad habits and poor judgment are avoidable and these suggestions may help eliminate their occurrence or mitigate their harmful effects when they do occur.
Edward F. Hennessey,
[Minimizing the Trauma of Judicial Ethical and Disciplinary Problems],
66 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol66/iss3/5