Monday, June 22, 2009
From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court of Ohio today announced the adoption of several amendments to the Rules for the Government of the Judiciary (Rule II) that concern grievances filed against Supreme Court justices and grievances alleging campaign misconduct by any Supreme Court candidate (including incumbent justices).
The amendments become effective Jan. 1, 2010. The amended rules apply to any grievance filed on or after Jan. 1, 2010. Justices voted 7-0 in approving the amendments.
The most significant change to Gov. Jud. R. II provides for the appointment of trial court judges, by the Chief Justice of the Courts of Appeals Judges Association, to conduct hearings on formal allegations of misconduct by Supreme Court Justices or candidates. As outlined in the rule, the administrative judge of each appellate district would designate two full-time trial court judges (a total of 24) each year to be eligible to serve on a three-member hearing panel. For the first time trial court judges would be involved in the process, which until now has involved only appeals court judges.
This and other amendments are based in part on recommendations from a 2006 report by a Court of Appeals Judges Association ad hoc committee. Association members provided comments that resulted in revisions to the rules published for public comment in October 2008. The amendments also:
- Eliminate conflicts of interest that arise from a judge’s service on multiple review panels related to the same alleged misconduct.
- Limit the role of the Chief Justice of the association to the performance of ministerial functions and presiding over the final adjudicatory panel.
- Provide clearer standards governing the review of grievances and formal complaints.
- Provide procedural clarity and uniformity throughout the rule.
- Place time limits on investigations of misconduct.