24th National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics

Registration is available for the 24th National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics, held by the Center for Judicial Ethics of the National Center for States Courts in Chicago, October 28-30, 2015.  The College will provide a forum for discussion of professional standards for judges and current issues in judicial discipline.  The College will begin Wednesday October 28 with registration starting at 2:00 and a reception from 5:30 to 7:00.  On Thursday, there will be a plenary session, followed by five 90-minute break-out sessions through Friday noon.  The topics for discussion are described below.  The registration fee is $375 through August 31, 2015, but $400 beginning September 1.  The registration is not refundable unless cancellation is received in writing prior to October 14, 2015

Hotel Information
Room reservations must be made directly with the hotel.  National College room rates at the EMBASSY SUITES by HILTON Chicago-Downtown/Lakefront (+16.4% occupancy tax) are: Single rate $219, Double rate $219, Triple rate $239, Quad rate $259.  Rates include complimentary guestroom internet access, cooked-to-order breakfast, and nightly manager’s reception for attendees staying at the hotel. Reservation cut-off is October 5, 2015, or when the College block is filled.  Upon availability, rooms may be reserved at the College rates for three days prior and/or three after the meeting event dates. To obtain the College rates, you must use/reference the group code “NCJ” when you make reservations at 800-HILTONS [800-445-8667] or click the hotel link on the College page.  The EMBASSY SUITES by HILTON Chicago-Downtown/ Lakefront is located at 511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago,


Compare and Contrast: Judicial Discipline Systems  No two state judicial discipline systems are alike, differing by constitution, statute, rule, policy, and practice, but each system has the same goal — effectively and fairly preserving the integrity of and public confidence in the judicial system.  To help states learn from each other, this session will compare the variations on issues such as structure (for example, separating the investigative and adjudicative functions), the role of the supreme court, sanctions, forms, and confidentiality.  Moderators:  Victoria B. Henley, Director-Chief Counsel, California Commission on Judicial Performance • Michael Schneider, Executive Director and General Counsel, Florida Commission on Judicial Qualifications • Cynthia Gray, Director, National Center for State Courts Center for Judicial Ethics

The 2007 Model Code of Judicial Conduct: Eight Years Later  This session will review the adoption status of the 2007 American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct including additions, omissions, and revisions states have made to the model as they adopted it.  Participants will also consider any questions that have arisen in interpreting the model and any gaps that have been discovered in applying the model.  Moderators:  James J. Alfini, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law • Justice Daniel J. Crothers, North Dakota Supreme Court; Chair, American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility Policy Implementation Committee

The Constitutionality of Restrictions on Judges’ Political Conduct  The U.S. Supreme Court 2002 decision in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White spawned numerous challenges to restrictions on the campaign and political conduct of judges and judicial candidates.  In April, the Court weighed in again, upholding the prohibition on personal solicitation of campaign contributions in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar.  This session will review the post-White case-law in light of Williams-Yulee and discuss the future of the canons.  Moderators:  Leslie W. Abramson, Professor of Law, D. Louis Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville • Matthew Menendez, Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice Democracy Program, New York University School of Law

Do you know who I am?” The Prestige of Judicial Office  From letters of recommendation, to traffic stops, to personal disputes, to helping out family and friends — judges are often tempted to mention their title and position.  This session will discuss the proper uses and inappropriate abuses of judicial prestige.  Moderators:  Raymond J. McKoski, Retired Judge, 19th Judicial Circuit Court; Member, Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee • Robert H. Tembeckjian, Administrator and Counsel, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct

Ex Parte Communications  The prohibition on judges’ initiating, permitting, and considering ex parte communications is one of the core principles of due process as well as the code of judicial conduct and a frequent basis for complaints and discipline.  This session will examine current and recurring issues such as independent investigations, what to do after an inadvertent ex parte communication, and communications “authorized by law.”  Moderators:  Judge Wanda G. Bryant, North Carolina Court of Appeals; Chair, Judicial Standards Commission • Judge Edward C. Moss, 17th Judicial District, Brighton, Colorado

Problem-solving Courts and Judicial Ethics  Hundreds of special courts have been established to try a different approach to problems such as drug addiction, domestic violence, and mental illness.  This session will consider the ethical issues raised for judges who preside in these courts where their role differs significantly from the judge’s role in traditional courts. Among the topics to be covered: ex parte communications, demeanor, fund-raising, and disqualification. In addition, participants will discuss what happens when a problem-solving judge becomes a judicial discipline problem.  Moderators:  Judge Julie J. Bernard, First Justice, Brockton District Court; Member, Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct • Judge Nanci J. Grant, Chief Judge, 6th Circuit Court; Member, Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission • Judge Leroy D. Kirby, Adams County Court Judge; Member, Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline

Robe-itis: Causes and Cures  Court observers have postulated that some judges seem to come down with “black robe disease” or “robe-itis,” in which the power of the office makes them more arrogant and less congenial. Considering psychological and social science perspectives as well as judicial experience, this session will examine the possible explanations for the phenomena and the measures conduct commissions and others can take to prevent and remedy it.  Moderators: Jeremy Fogel, Director, Federal Judicial Center • Gerald T. Kaplan, M.A., L.P., Executive Director of Alpha Human Services and Alpha Service Industries; Member, Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards • Judge Joyce Williams Warren, 6th Judicial District, Little Rock; Member, Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline and Disability

Determining the Appropriate Sanction  Examining recent judicial discipline cases, this session will review the criteria for imposing sanctions and discuss issues such as the relevance of a judge’s failure to express remorse and when removal is appropriate.  Participants will “vote” on what sanctions they would have imposed in actual judicial discipline cases.  Moderators:  Steven Scheckman, Schiff, Scheckman & White LLP • Judge John P. Erlick, King County Superior Court; Member, Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct

The Role of Public Members  Participants will share their experiences as public members of judicial conduct commissions and discuss what impact their perspective has on deliberations, training, and the perception of the commissions by the public and judges.  Moderators:  Joyce Jennings, Member, Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission • Carol LeBlanc, Member, Louisiana Judiciary Commission • Lois Richins, Member, Utah Judicial Conduct Commission

Introduction to the Canons for New Members of Judicial Conduct Commissions  This session will give new members of judicial conduct commissions an overview of the ethical standards they will be enforcing and focus on those provisions that result in the most judicial discipline cases.  Moderators:  Judge Randall L. Cole, Presiding Circuit Judge for the 9th Judicial Circuit; Member, Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission • Adrienne Meiring, Counsel, Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications

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