Friday, June 18, 2010

Judicial Ethics Spat In New York

In a rather unusual letter, the Administrator and Counsel to the New York State Commission on Judicial conduct commented on behalf of the Commission on an Advisory Opinion of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics. The letter states that

...the opinion's gratuitous criticism of the Commission was unwarrented, particularly where, as here, it was offered without the benefit of the facts and circumstances that prompted the Commission's inquiry of the judge in the first place. That the opinion reached out to attack the Commission for its procedures and retroactively criticized the questions posed to the judge is all the more suprising given the limited, prospective issue as to which the inquiring judge had sought the Advisory Committee's advice, and the fact that the judge had already answered the question posed and does not appear to have raised any question about their propriety.

The underlying case involved a custody matter in which the judge was accused of lack of courtesy and patience.

The letter concludes:

...we prefer that future discussions about the Commission's process and procedures occur in a more appropriate forum or fashion, rather than an individual opinion, particularly where the Advisory Committee may be limited in its knowledge of all the relevant circumstances.

(Mike Frisch)

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