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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83822 Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Discipline at the Federal Level - A New Response to an Old Problem (From Analysis of Judicial Reform, P 107-119, 1982, Philip L DuBois, ed. - See NCJ-83815)
Author(s): J H Culver; R L Cruikshanks
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: D C Heath and Co
Lexington, MA 02173
Sale Source: D C Heath and Co
125 Spring Street
Lexington, MA 02173
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Legislative efforts to establish Federal judicial disciplinary procedures are reviewed, and the potential of the Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 (PL 96-458) to correct judicial misconduct is assessed.
Abstract: For over 50 years, Congress has debated the merits of instituting some mechanism for disciplining Federal judges. Serious constitutional issues arise in such discussions, since the Constitution specifies that Federal judges may be removed from the bench by impeachment; however, the Constitution is silent on disciplining judges for less serious breaches of conduct where removal would not be warranted. Although Congress passed legislation creating judicial councils within each of the Federal circuits in 1939 with some authority over judges' behavior, their primary function is administrative. In 1980, Congress passed and the President signed into law PL 96-458, which establishes a procedure for the processing of complaints against Federal judges and allows for sanctions short of removal to be applied against errant judges. The experiences of the States that have adopted such procedures suggests that the legislation is a step in the right direction, since there are numerous categories and instances of judicial conduct that do not merit impeachment but are serious and frequent enough to warrant scrutiny by an impartial body. It remains to be seen whether expectations will be fulfilled for PL 96-458. Nineteen references are provided.
Index Term(s): Federal courts; Judge censure and removal; Legislation
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