Sunday, April 10, 2016
With the legal-oriented media regularly reporting benchslaps, a critical article was inevitable. And here it is—a very thoughtful one. In Benchslaps, Professor Joseph Mastrosimone criticizes the practice of judges publicly shaming lawyers of their allegedly unethical or unprofessional conduct:
This article criticizes the practice and concludes that it must end based on three arguments: (1) benchslaps breach a judge’s ethical obligation to take appropriate action in response to attorney misconduct; (2) benchslaps by their nature breach a judge’s ethical obligation to treat those appearing in court with courtesy, respect, and patience; and (3) the lack of appeal rights from a benchslap compounds their inappropriateness.
The article argues that judicial ethical enforcement regimes are the proper vehicles for policing questionable judicial conduct.
You can access the article here.