Concerned About a Colleague?
You’ve noticed that your colleague seems to be “off”; that certain personal and professional characteristics are changing for the worse. At first you thought it was temporary and, because it didn’t seem to affect his or her performance of judicial duties, you were not overly concerned. After all, who are you to intervene into his/her personal life? Life has its ups and downs and your colleague may be going through a tough time. But it has been going on for a while and things are getting worse not better. You’ve observed (or heard of) some problems concerning the judge that are circulating among the lawyers and the courthouse grapevine. If things don’t turnaround there is a real possibility of someone filing a complaint with the Judicial Conduct Board. Nobody wants that. His or her reputation and career is at risk, but what can you do?
Perhaps JCJ can help. You can choose to talk in confidence to a volunteer or a professional interventionist. Your call to JCJ does not obligate you to take any action. We will answer your questions, provide free literature, and offer guidance. You may even choose to remain anonymous or keep the identity of the judge in distress anonymous.
The call and our services are free and confidential. Why delay? Call now.
Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct establishes an affirmative duty for you to report a Judge for unprofessional conduct.
Why not contact JCJ before it goes that far?
Should I Try to Help the Judge in Distress?
We are a self-regulating profession with a duty to, promote the administration of justice and preserve the integrity of the organized Bench and Bar. Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct establishes an affirmative duty to report a judge engaging in unprofessional conduct. This canon is analogous to Rule 8.3 “Reporting Professional Misconduct” (Rules of Professional Conduct) which requires judges to report the substantial misconduct of attorneys. (See Rule 8.3 and the Comments thereto.)
Judges suffering from untreated alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, emotional or mental health disorders will eventually disrupt the administration of justice and undermine the public’s confidence and trust in the justice system. Sooner or later you will be faced with the decision of whether or not to report a judge’s professional misconduct. Although JCJ cannot advise you in these matters, we can put you in touch with an ethics attorney who can assist you in making an informed decision about whether or not to report.
There is also a humane side to the issue – can we really sit on the sidelines and watch a judge descend into the depths of despair, dysfunction, disbarment and sometimes death?
Nevertheless we may hesitate getting involved. Isn’t this a private matter better left to friends and family? The fact is that friends and family may not know what to do or have been unsuccessful in their efforts to intervene. Judges are adept at overpowering non-judges. Sometimes it takes another authority figure to pierce the cloak of denial. No one can catch his or her attention as well as a fellow judge.