The fall issue of the Judicial Conduct Reporter is now available to be downloaded at no charge.
The issue has an article on charitable contributions as part of sentences that states “[a]bsent statutory authority . . . advisory committees agree that a judge may not require a contribution to a charity as part of a sentence. . . . In addition, judges have been disciplined for requiring a charitable contribution as part of a criminal disposition.” The article then explains the rationale for the rule and describes its applications to situations such as plea bargains and contributions in exchange for dismissal of charges or in lieu of community service.
Also in the issue is an article on improper delegation of adjudicative responsibilities that discusses cases in which “[j]udges have been disciplined for inappropriately entrusting their judicial duties to court staff, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers.” The cases fall into categories such as pre-signed bail orders, turning over a docket to the prosecutor, use of a signature stamp by court staff, and court staff presiding over court proceedings. There is also a section on judges’ delegating to court staff the setting of fines pursuant to a schedule.
In addition, the issue has an article on judges’ attendance at inaugural events for elected public officials, summaries of selected recent advisory opinions, and summaries of selected recent judicial discipline cases on incivility and asserting the prestige of judicial office.
Free downloads of past issues of the Reporter and an index of Reporter articles are available on the Center for Judicial Ethics web-site. You can sign up to receive notice when a new issue of the Reporter is available.