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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91790 Find in a Library
Title: Federal Judicial Discipline Act - Is Decentralized Self-Regulation Working?
Journal: Judicature  Volume:67  Issue:4  Dated:(October 1983)  Pages:183,195-199
Author(s): S B Burbank
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Judicial councils' rules for implementing the Federal Judicial Discipline Act are deficient, and the Judicial Conference should fashion a uniform yet flexible procedure to deal with existing rules' inadequacies.
Abstract: In the Judicial County Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, Congress sought to create a mechanism that would enable the Federal judiciary to deal authoritatively, fairly, and efficiently with misconduct and disability complaints against Federal judges and magistrates, with the goals of improving judicial ethics and judicial accountability to the public while preserving the essentials of judicial independence. Judicial councils of the circuit courts have sought to develop procedural rules to implement the act; however, measured against criteria of adequacy of detail, innovativeness, and consistency with the act's provisions and policies, these rules as a whole are inadequate. Consequently, the Judicial Conference should do more than prevent disruptive disuniformity and modify rules that are inconsistent with the act. Because Federal judges are too busy to stay abreast of strictly judicial business, and councils may still be inadequately staffed, they may not be able to devote serious attention to prospective procedural lawmaking at the local level. The Conference should take the initiative. The Conference could canvass the range of procedural options available and, where appropriate, it could give a choice of options to the councils. Finally the Conference should assist the Administrative Office in gathering information necessary to evaluate experience under the act. Tabular data are provided on complaints under the act, and 87 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Judicial conduct and ethics; Judicial councils and conferences; Judicial rulemaking; Legislation
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