A June 2018 Report of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group indicated a need for additional ethical guidance regarding harassment in the courtroom and the conduct of judges and staff members. Based on this report and the changes proposed, effective March 12, 2019, the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings were revised.
The revisions require judges to practice civility, patience, dignity, respectfulness, and courteousness when dealing with court personnel and staff. It further spells out that judges should not harass any court personnel, and/or retaliate against them.
Recently, there have been a series of cases involving poor judge behavior. A judge from Brevard County, Florida became so enraged with the public defender that he challenged him to a brawl that ensued in the hallway outside the courtroom. This was captured on video and posted on YouTube. Eighteen months later, the Florida Supreme Court removed him from the bench.
Several videos have surfaced on the internet in the recent years due to the prevalence of smart phones and social media. Our judicial system is under increased scrutiny from the perception that judges are behaving unfairly or being abusive. The revised Judicial Rules provide additional guidance to ensure that courtrooms remain places where justice is dispensed.
The job of judging is highly stressful. Judges are under increasing pressure to resolve their cases within a tight timeline. The nature of litigation is antagonistic, where each party utilizes aggressive legal tactics that require judges to be vigilant and referee acutely to ensure a fair proceeding. Judges in our society bear the responsibility of maintaining decorum in the courtroom. They share the greater burden of ensuring faith and credibility of our justice system, and sometimes need to go to extra lengths to remain fair and balanced.
Judges are required to know and keep up with complex legal theories and case law. The complexity of the legal field can be intellectually taxing. Judges must face high levels of stress and pressure, which can also lead to burn out. These new rules hope to provide further guidelines and code of conduct to help judges continue to maintain fairness and decorum in the courtroom.
Our attorneys at The MacMain Law Group LLC are experienced in representing judicial officers. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County. To learn more about our services contact us online or call 484-318-7106 for an initial consultation.