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Judicial misconduct occurs when a judge acts in ways that are considered unethical or otherwise violate the judge's obligations of impartial conduct.
Actions that can be classified as judicial misconduct include: conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts (as an extreme example: "falsification of facts" at summary judgment); using the judge's office to obtain special treatment for friends or relatives; accepting bribes, gifts, or other personal favors related to the judicial office; having improper discussions with parties or counsel for one side in a case; treating litigants or attorneys in a demonstrably egregious and hostile manner; violating other specific, mandatory standards of judicial conduct, such as judicial rules of procedure or evidence, or those pertaining to restrictions on outside income and requirements for financial disclosure; and acting outside the jurisdiction of the court, or performance of official duties if the conduct might have a prejudicial effect on the administration of the business of the courts among reasonable people. Rules of official misconduct also include rules concerning disability, which is a temporary or permanent condition rendering judge unable to discharge the duties of the particular judicial office.
A judicial investigative committee is a panel of judges selected to investigate a judicial misconduct complaint against a judge accused of judicial misconduct. Judicial investigative committees are rarely appointed. According to U.S. Court statistics, only 18 of the 1,484 judicial misconduct complaints filed in the United States Courts between September 2004 and September 2007 warranted the formation of judicial investigative committees.
Notable judges involved in misconduct
- Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway
- United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase
- Weld County District Court Chief Judge James F. Hartmann
- Aaron Persky
- Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore
- Judicial Misconduct Rules – United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- From nude photos to lying: Federal judges under scrutiny Houston Chronicle, October 13, 2008
- "Troubling trend: When Michigan judges need disciplining". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Ex-Judge Trading Robes For Prison Garb". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Ex-Justice Diane Hathaway Sentenced To Prison For Real Estate Fraud -- AOL Real Estate". AOL Real Estate Blog. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Judge Diane Hathaway's Lawyer on Her Bank Fraud: 'It was Dumb'". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Ex-Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will remain in prison". WDIV. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Let Me Go Home, Ex-Justice Diane Hathaway Pleads To Judge From Prison". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway released from federal prison". MLive.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- Jones, Ross. "Fmr. Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway released from Camp Cupcake". WXYZ. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "1801: Senate Tries Supreme Court Justice". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- Above the Law: Judicial Misconduct – Site specializing in news on the topic
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