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NCJ Number: 63312 Find in a Library
Title: TWO OF MICHIGAN'S WORST JUDGES - AND WHAT THEIR CASES TEACH
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:63  Issue:5  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1979)  Pages:206-219
Author(s): W JENKINS
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: AN ANALYSIS OF THE MICHIGAN JUDICIAL TENURE COMMISSION FOCUSES ON TWO SERIOUS INCIDENTS IN WHICH JUDGES CONTESTED THE ISSUES INVOLVED IN THE COMPLAINT PROCESS.
Abstract: THE FORMATION OF JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE COMMISSIONS IN 48 STATES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND PUERTO RICO, REPRESENTS AN EFFORT TO PROVIDE CONDITIONS IN WHICH JUDGES WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND WILL BE ABLE TO ACT INDEPENDENTLY IN THE ADJUDICATION OF UNPOPULAR CASES. THE JUDICIAL COMMISSIONS PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MEANS TO IMPEACHMENT FOR DEALING WITH JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT. COMMISSIONS CAN RESPOND TO PROBLEMS OF PARTIALITY, DISHONESTY, AND INCOMPETENCE BY RECOMMENDING PUBLIC CENSURE, REPRIMAND, OR TEMPORARY SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY. HOWEVER, THE TWO MOST SERIOUS COMPLAINTS AGAINST MICHIGAN JUDGES RAISED ISSUES CENTRAL TO THE OPERATION OF THE COMMISSIONS. THESE ISSUES INVOLVED THE EXTENT OF DISCOVERY RIGHTS OF A JUDGE WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF A FORMAL COMPLAINT, THE LIMITS OF CONFIDENTIALITY BETWEEN THE COMMISSION AND THE INDIVIDUALS WHO MAKE COMPLAINTS, AND THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF JUDGES FOR OUT-OF-COURT BEHAVIOR. IN THE CASE OF AN EASTON COUNTY JUDGE ACCUSED OF CONDITIONING BAIL REDUCTION ON THE LENGTH OF A DEFENDANT'S HAIR, THE MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT FOUND THE JUDGE GUILTY OF 'LACK OF JUDICIAL TEMPERAMENT.' THE COURT SUSTAINED THE RIGHT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION TO REFUSE TO REVEAL THE NAME OF EVERY PERSON CONTACTED BY THE COMMISSION. THE SUBSEQUENT INVESTIGATION OF A JUDGE ACCUSED OF BENEFITING FRIENDS EXTENDED THE LIMITED NATURE OF A JUDGE'S DISCOVERY RIGHTS, AND GRANTED THE MICHIGAN COMMISSION AND ITS MASTER THE AUTHORITY TO DENY ALL PRECOMPLAINT AND PREHEARING DISCOVERY. RELYING ON GREUNBERG V. KAVANAGH (1976), THE MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT RULED THAT AN ACCUSED JUDGE HAD NO FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO A STATE OFFICE GOVERNED BY THE STATE CONSTITUTION AND STATUTES. CHRONOLOGIES OF THE TWO INVESTIGATIONS AND A DESCRIPTION OF THE MICHIGAN JUDICIAL TENURE COMMISSION ARE PROVIDED. FOOTNOTES SUPPLEMENT THE TEXT. (TWK)
Index Term(s): Judge censure and removal; Judicial conduct and ethics; Judicial decisions; Michigan; Pretrial discovery; Professional misconduct; State Judicial Conduct Commissions
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