Judge Criticized for Failing to Disclose His Spouse Worked for Defense Firm

, The Legal Intelligencer

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The Superior Court has criticized a Philadelphia judge for failing to disclose that his spouse worked for a law firm representing a defendant in a motor vehicle insurance case.

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What's being said

  • Azure Ventura

    If a judge finds a way to help a litigant, (a friend) or return a favor, confident his motive for ruling to her benefit will be hidden, why wouldn't he? What constrains him from behaving improperly under such circumstances?

    Many of us would choose to assist a friend if we were in the judge's shoes, wouldn't we? So, the question is, what kinds of things/qualities separate judges from your average bear, like you and me?

    It cannot be their education, necessarily. Highly educated judges have admitted to all kinds of misconduct, including making judicial decisions that have nothing to do with fairness, evidence, justice, etc.

    Great intelligence. Ditto.

    Upringing? Ditto.

    Sufficient wealth? What about millionaire judges who skew case results for their economic gain?

    Fear of being caught? Well, how can they get caught? It is pretty tough for a litigant to prove a judge acted from bias even when a potential conflict of interest is obvious. Judges are rarely disciplined or warned publicly for not heeding the rules by which they are bound.

    Citizens must be satisfied, not judges. Yet, convincing the average bear that all is on the level is no longer the standard. Judges have come to substitute their own interpretation for what appears to be bias, and since the standard has changed, who needs to be concerned with the publics' perception?

    Therein lies the danger. The Canons proclaim, loudly, clearly, and repeatedly that sustaining the trust of citizens is the key to an effective judiciary. Without that trust and respect, our entire democracy is threatened.

    Thanks Superior Court


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