Fiduciary Watch: California Judges Claim They are Over Disciplined

California Judges want the Commission on Judicial Performance to leave them alone. How arrogant can California Judges be to think that they should not be monitored?

Tension between California’s jurists and the Commission on Judicial Performance? That’s nothing new. Fits of judicial pique against the watchdog panel have spiked and ebbed ever since state voters created it in 1960.

But 52 years later, frustration — one justice described it as “palpable anger” — with the 11-member commission has grown to such a high level that there’s now open, albeit cryptic, talk by two judges associations of forcing changes upon the disciplinary agency.

“There seems to be a scope or mission creep to their work,” said California Judges Accociation then President David Rubin, a San Diego trial court judge. “There seem to be significant instances of over discipline. And there seem at times to be issues of discipline for errors of law over real substantive violations of canons of ethics.”

The CJP appears to offer one of the few topics where the CJA and the Alliance of California Judges share similar views. Alliance Director Thomas Hollenhorst, a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, echoed Rubin’s critiques and added what he said is judges’ growing resentment over a pointed tone in both the commission’s advisory letters and disciplinary proceedings.

“What you’re hearing from judges is a concern over what appears to be an attempt to sort of rub judges’ noses in offenses,” said Hollenhorst, who teaches judicial ethics and has served as a special master for the commission.

Commissioners and CJP Director Victoria Henley say they’re perplexed by the claims of over disciplining. They note that the numbers of admonishments, advisory letters and even ousters ordered each year by the CJP have changed little over the past decade. And with five judges and lawyers serving on the panel, they add, there’s significant empathy for what it takes to run a courtroom today.

“Everyone is very aware of the personal effect discipline has on judges,” said seven-year commissioner Judith McConnell, the administrative presiding justice of the Fourth District. “The commissioners take their job very seriously.”

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Fiduciary Watch:  California Judges Claim They are Over Disciplined

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7 Responses to “Fiduciary Watch: California Judges Claim They are Over Disciplined”

  1. StandUp Says:

    That's funny. Over disciplined? No, if that were the case, all the judges in CA would be top-notch and we know that's not the case.

  2. Donna Says:

    If they behaved and followed the law, they wouldn't have to be disciplined!

  3. Thelma Says:

    Without discipline, here's what happens: Bad judges knowingly, willingly and deliberately violate the law they have sworn to uphold.There are only two reasons that cause those problems: the judges are either incompent and must be removed; or they are corrupt and must be removed.Without discipline, we would be in Star Chambers.

  4. Luis Says:

    Overdisciplined?That's ridiculous!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    That is funny!??? I am guessing these same Judges don't watch over their children or loved ones, they sit and wait for some one else to do it, like the guardians and fidutuary's they appoint. In Florida, in Pinellas county, Guardian Peter Musante Sr. prides himself on telling everyone he is Judge St.Arnold's, and Judge Patrick Caddell's main guardian, in important cases. Like John Graziano, or the Retta Rickow case. He claims he is Judge's favorite and he cannot even do his own accountings, all he does is keep his log. Check his record, he is incompetent as a guardian. Has not been able to do almost a single guardianship properly. More like a you do what we say and we will reward you guy. Whines all the time, why am I one of the only males in a mostly female environment, guess that is why I am the best. Ha! Cant' wait till he is appointed over their families.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Judges wouldn't have to be "over disciplined" if they hadn't gotten so far out of line.Quit whining CA judges!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Judges wouldn't have to be "over disciplined" if they hadn't gotten so far out of line.Quit whining CA judges!

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