Judicial misconduct

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 a judge unable to discharge the duties of the particular judicial office.[1]

In India[edit]

Justice C. S. Karnan was sentenced to six months of imprisonment by the Supreme Court of India, holding him guilty of contempt of court. He was the first Indian High Court judge to be sent to prison for contempt while in office.[2][3]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, judicial misconduct is investigated by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office.[disputed ]

In the United States[edit]

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 resulted in the formation of judicial investigative committees.[4]

Notable judges involved in misconduct allegations[edit]

  • Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]
  • United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, who was acquitted on articles of impeachment[13]
  • Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore
  • Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court David A. Brock
  • District Judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph
  • Superior Court Judge James Towery, County of Santa Clara Judge Towery
  • In re James D. Heiple, No. 97 CC 1 (4/30/1997) (Respondent, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, was censured for conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice and brings the judicial office into disrepute for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct, Illinois Supreme Court Rules 61 and 62(A).  Specifically, Respondent belligerently volunteered information that he was a member of the judiciary (e.g., "Do you know who you are talking to?”  “Do you know who I am?”) after being detained by police who suspected that he had violated traffic laws.  Moreover, on three occasions, Respondent displayed an Illinois Supreme Court Justice identification credential to law enforcement to avoid receiving traffic citations.  Respondent knew or should have known that communicating such information was likely to influence the officers who were investigating him and would be perceived by them as an attempt to use his judicial office to preclude being charged with traffic violations.)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Judicial Misconduct Rules – United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  2. ^ Mittal, Priyanka; Vishwanath, Apurva (10 May 2017). "Supreme Court sentences justice C.S. Karnan to 6 months imprisonment". Livemint. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  3. ^ Rajagopal, Krishnadas (9 May 2017). "SC sentences Justice Karnan to six months imprisonment". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  4. ^ From nude photos to lying: Federal judges under scrutiny Houston Chronicle, October 13, 2008
  5. ^ "Troubling trend: When Michigan judges need disciplining". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  6. ^ "Ex-Judge Trading Robes For Prison Garb". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  7. ^ "Ex-Justice Diane Hathaway Sentenced To Prison For Real Estate Fraud -- AOL Real Estate". AOL Real Estate Blog. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  8. ^ "Judge Diane Hathaway's Lawyer on Her Bank Fraud: 'It was Dumb'". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  9. ^ "Ex-Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will remain in prison". WDIV. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  10. ^ "Let Me Go Home, Ex-Justice Diane Hathaway Pleads To Judge From Prison". www.deadlinedetroit.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  11. ^ "Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway released from federal prison". MLive.com. 23 May 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  12. ^ Jones, Ross. "Fmr. Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway released from Camp Cupcake". WXYZ. Archived from the original on 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  13. ^ "1801: Senate Tries Supreme Court Justice". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-16.

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