Thursday, November 1, 2007
The Nevada Supreme Court has just posted its decision in the much-publicized judicial misconduct case involving Judge Elizabeth Halverson. The Court upholds the Commission on Judicial Discipline's exercise of the "rarely used but formidable power" to impose interim suspension when necessary to uphold the integrity of the judiciary:
"The interim suspension of a duly elected judge is a significant matter, and such a sanction should not be imposed lightly. Only when the Commission is satisfied that the threat posed by a judge cannot await the disposition of formal proceedings is such a powerful tool properly invoked, and the remainder of the discipline proceeding must progress with dispatch. In this case, the Commission did not abuse its discretion in determining that the evidence before it met the required standard. As noted by the Michigan Supreme Court, even an elected judge is entitled to sit only while he or she adheres to the position’s requirements, including compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct. We therefore affirm the Commission’s order."
The court cites evidence that the judge had dined and conversed with deliberating jurors in a criminal case, treated staff and litigants with disrespect and often fallen asleep on the bench (her former courtroom bailiff testified that the judge fell asleep on the bench every day). (Mike Frisch )