January 9, 2009
More Transparency In Judicial Discipline Proposed
A subcommittee of an Article 6 Commission of the Nevada Supreme Court has proposed modifications of the rules and procedures governing judicial discipline. The subcommittee seeks amendments that will make the process more transparent:
To increase transparency, the Article 6 Commission subcommittee recommends:
- Allowing those who file complaints against judges to discuss those matters publicly. Currently complainants are under the threat of contempt if they reveal the existence of their complaints.
- Allowing the Commission on Judicial Discipline to disclose information about some cases in certain circumstances – such as when details become public through other sources,
- Requiring the Commission on Judicial Discipline to prepare annual reports detailing the disposition of cases, and
- Requiring the Commission on Judicial Discipline to tell those who filed complaints how the cases were resolved.
The report also recommends:
- Authorizing letters of caution and private admonishments for relatively minor issues,
- Adding public admonishment and public reprimand to the list of allowed forms of discipline (joining fines, suspension, and removal),
- Requiring notice to a judge when a case requires further investigations, but with protections against retaliation for complainants and others,
- Providing for notice and a public hearing before a judge can be suspended,
- Amending the Constitution to allow separation of the Commission on Judicial Discipline’s investigative and adjudicative functions.
The 154 page report will now be considered by the full commission. (Mike Frisch)
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