CORRUPT USA COURTS
|Uncovering Corruption in America's Justice System: Bribery of Judges, Lawyers and Courts (1989) VIDEO
Operation Greylord – Today on Decades (VIDEO)
Operation Greylord exposed bribery by judges, lawyers and cops to fix trials in the 1980's (VIDEO)
Harold Conn was a court clerk and ''bagman'' for judges willing to issue favorable rulings to lawyers for a fee. 'Two Systems of Justice'
Operation Greylord exposed how many American judges were on the take in the 1980's
(and why juries need restored)(VIDEO)
Thomas P. Sullivan: On Operation Greylord (VIDEO)
The FBI named the investigation "Operation Greylord" because of all the judges having gray hair,
although the national media reported it was named after the curly wigs worn by British judges.
About the book:
Operation Greylord was an investigation conducted jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Chicago Police Internal Affairs Division and the Illinois State Police into corruption in the judiciary of Cook County, Illinois (the Chicago jurisdiction).
The 3 1/2-year undercover operation took place in the 1980s. The first listening device ever placed in a judge's
chambers occurred in the undercover phase, when the narcotics court chambers of Judge Wayne Olson were bugged.
In order to acquire evidence of corruption, agents obtained U.S. Department of Justice authorization to present
false court cases for the undercover agents/lawyers to fix in front of the corrupt judges.
The first defendant to be found guilty was Harold Conn, the Deputy Traffic Court Clerk in the Cook County judicial system. Conn was convicted in March 1984 and was one of the many bagmen in the ring of corruption. The last conviction was that of Judge Thomas J. Maloney, who was indicted in 1991 on bribery charges and convicted in April 1993 of fixing three murder cases for more than $100,000 in bribes. Maloney was released from federal prison in 2008, and died the same year. A total of 92 people were indicted, including 17 judges, 48 lawyers, ten deputy sheriffs, eight policemen, eight court officials, and state legislator James DeLeo. Out of the 17 judges indicted in the trials, 15 were convicted. One judge, Richard LeFevour, was convicted on 59 counts of mail fraud, racketeering and income-tax violations, getting 12 years in prison. Ten years after the undercover case concluded, the historical investigations, prosecutions and trials concluded in 1994.
The systemic corruption led to the formation of the Special Commission on the Administration of Justice in Cook County, a group assembled in August 1984 to examine the problems of the Cook County courts. The group also issued recommendations that were designed to contribute to a period of reform in the courts. The Commission wrote a total of 165 recommendations for the courts of Cook County. Operation Greylord lead to many other similar investigations targeting corruption in Cook County including Operation Silver Shovel, Incubator, Lantern, Operation Gambat, and Safebet. Operation Greylord was also a turning point in the use eavesdropping devices in order to obtain evidence for trial.
The key undercover FBI agents and lawyers were David Grossman, David Reis and Terrence Hake. Hake was a Cook County prosecutor, who complained about the bribery and corruption in the Murder and Sexual Assault preliminary hearing courtroom in Chicago. The FBI and United States Attorneys Office learned of his complaint and recruited him to pose as a corrupt prosecutor and later as a bribe-paying criminal defense attorney. While playing the role of a corrupt prosecutor, Hake supplied the evidentiary probable cause to bug Judge Olson's chambers. Lamar Jordan, David Benscoter, Marie Dyson, William C. Megary, and Robert Farmer were the principal FBI case agents and supervisors during the investigation. Cook County Judge Thaddeus Kowalski was important in the case due to his cooperation with authorities even though he knew his cooperation might endanger his career.
First Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Reidy and Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSA) Charles Sklarsky, Scott Lassar, Scott Mendeloff and Candace J. Fabri led many of the prosecutions. Four United States Attorneys, Thomas P. Sullivan, Dan K. Webb, Anton R. Valukas and Fred Foreman supervised the investigations and prosecutions. Valukus and AUSA James Schweitzer indicted 22 corrupt court personnel in 1985, along with Judge Raymond Sodini, who presided over the corruption in his courtroom at Chicago Police Headquarters.
| AMERICA'S FUCKED UP LEGAL SYSTEM RELEASES SANDOWSKY VIDEO
by Linda L. Kennedy, USA ATTORNEY AT LAW
These vignettes are from Kennedy's book "Holodeck Law" where nothing is as it appears, and where the plaintiff is never to be seen again - with money. She states:
I hope these early chapter releases will help those good people who are still shocked when
faced with the reality of the court and justice systems.
Also for some who still have
not yet grasped what is occurring, or who are still unwilling to believe what they have
seen with their own eyes in our rogue courts, which are accountable to nobody, but themselves.
"The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot
believe it exists". - J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI. Let us not be invalids.
Let us face the truth so it can be addressed while we still have time to correct it.
For those who have never watched the television classic "Star Trek," according to this show, a holodeck is a computerized program that can "reproduce" a place of paradise, or a day in World War II, or whatever scene the characters choose to create. In the show, the hardworking spaceship inhabitants who needed a little "R & R" from the tireless tasks of captaining or crewing a spaceship would take breaks like we would take a vacation. These breaks, however, would be in a fantasy setting, the holodeck, where the participants could become a part of the program of their choosing. It is like playing a game of virtual reality. Except for the person using the holodeck program, all the characters on the stage of the holodeck are mere holographic images. Although everything looks real, it is not as it appears.
Until this past year I had not realized, or connected the similarities between this fantasy holodeck and the shocking reality of our American courtrooms today, where, as in the holodeck, nothing is as it appears. But, like so many other things in life, as one accumulates knowledge, and uses their own experiences, observation skills, wisdom, and reevaluates what has been seen and heard, a reality or a truth becomes more apparent.
The American courtroom is created by a legal aristocracy who will stop at nothing to keep money and power in the hands of a few "power-elite" control mongers. Much to my disappointment, at this stage in my legal career, the eerie similarities between the runaway American courts and the fantasy holodeck can no longer be denied. This Divine Right of Kings is still alive and well, but hidden carefully by the elite, within the bigger holodeck called America. On this holodeck, we are taught that America exists as a republic, but many are finding out that it is nothing more than a disguised feudal system, where the rich still rule the poor. Much of their perpetuation rule is guaranteed through the disciplining of the people by Holodeck Courts, which even Congress fears. This system of unjust discipline assures the lords and vassals that they will always have serfs over which to rule. Serfs are not only "We the People," but also include those who may have been lords and vassals, or who have the potential to enter this class, but have refused to join the elite because they still believe in right and wrong.
Although we have been indoctrinated by our government-funded schools to blindly believe that justice is found in the courtroom, the American Court is what I call "Holodeck Law" where nothing is as it appears. A television commercial coined the phrase, "image is everything," and as long as the public is unaware that American "justice" is a mere image, the government hand will always be quicker than the public eye. Until Americans are awakened by their own court-hardships, each will continue to repeat the words, like a parrot wanting a cracker, that America has the most fair court system in the world. Some have come to realize that this is not true as the justice system continues to advance, plundering American citizens at its whim. "The evils of tyranny are rarely seen, but by him who resists it." John Hay 1872. Unfortunately for us all, being a victim of the court's abuse is just a matter of time.
Like the Wizard of Oz, who used smoke and mirrors to operate Oz from behind the scenes in virtual anonymity, but who was finally exposed for the fraud he truly was, it is imperative that the public discovers and exposes who or what is behind the curtain of our rogue justice system. For those of us who have begun to remove the veil, I believe that "We the People," must become the Fourth Branch of Government who must, collectively, look out for each other's interests and provide the checks and balances our government was designed to perform. Hopefully, in taking this active stance, we will be able to restore justice so that we can again be the master and the government our servant as originally designed in the Constitution and in the Bill of Rights.
What I now refer to as the "courtroom holodeck" is the scene of the crime, and the stage where this chimera is played out. In this virtual reality the judges and attorney(s) are holograms (mere images of justice), all working in the labyrinth of a "Litigation Vortex." The unsuspecting public who either gets sucked into the vortex (unwillingly brought into court) or suckered into the maelstrom (thinking that justice would be received through the legal system), are real characters, but they do not realize they are on the court holodeck, nor do they realize that they are not being protected, or zealously represented as their grade school teacher had taught them they would be in our government-funded elementary schools. They do not realize that nothing is as it appears in the holodeck court.
If one is unfortunate enough to fall on to the turf of the holodeck court, one must know the Holodeck Rule Book, who is the real enemy, and understand the holodeck strategies in order to survive and even sometimes thrive in the "Litigation Vortex."
When you voluntarily go into court you will find (or have found) that many times you will lose even though the law is clearly on your side. Then, after the loss, due to your sense of justice, you begin filing lawsuits or complaints against judges, you appeal decisions, and spend time and other resources thinking of other legal strategies for seeking recourse, etc. In essence, you are asking the judges to find themselves corrupt.
When stated that way I think most of you can see that this is probably not going to happen. But even worse, you become occupied for years on a course that costs you large sums of money and keeps you busy with very little to show for it except perhaps high blood pressure. Most often you simply become even more outraged and impoverished than when you innocently started down this path many years before. Simply put, this is what I call the "Litigation Vortex" funneling onto the Holodeck Court, where nothing is as it appears and where the plaintiff is never to be seen again - with money. I felt by releasing this chapter, many might benefit and better understand what I say when I tell you to get off the courts' "turf."
In spite of the Holodeck, however, I have found ways to win in court. It is not impossible, but unless you know the "real" rules of court, you will not be able to endure or succeed in it. My strategy takes a lot of understanding of the facts, the law, an understanding of the real strategies of the opposition (see Triangle and Two Defense), a thorough understanding of the overall corruptness of the system, an understanding of military strategies (believe it or not), and it becomes very case specific and tailored and must be tweaked as the case progresses. Be forewarned that this strategy is also a very dangerous one, especially for lawyers who use it, since by implementing it you eventually show the other side that you know their game and are not willing to play. An attorney or citizen may get to use this strategy between two to four times before he or she is exposed as the enemy of the state (not playing along with their game in their Holodeck Court). The system will then implement the "and two" part of the Triangle and Two Defense against you. Attorneys in particular are susceptible to this counterattack by the system.
These released chapters are vignettes that may help you understand where you are in your litigation, what happened if you are already through your litigation nightmare, or perhaps will help you comprehend that the battle to win back our courts has to be fought off of the court's turf. The writing is fairly short, and not all inclusive, but I think it will help you be more effective and help you stop doing the same things our poor predecessor citizens have unsuccessfully tried because they did not understand the real rules, or the real game. We must know what the opposition is doing so that we know how to combat it in all legal, nonviolent ways available.
The Litigation Vortex
Whether you enter the "Litigation Vortex" willingly (suckered in naively - don't feel bad, attorneys have done it too), or whether you get sucked into the maelstrom like some alleged "criminals" and some attorneys on alleged "disciplinary" charges have, you enter into the "legal holodeck" where nothing is as it appears.
You are a hard working man, hardly ever missed a day of work in your life. Unsuspectingly, you have found yourself in the legal system where your grade school teacher taught you justice would prevail. You learn to research your case, try to make everyone understand your facts, and how justice would be served by finding in your favor. Initially, everyone seems to understand. The judge, and sometimes even the opposing attorney appear to want to understand and get to justice . . . and the clerk was so pleasant. You know she saw that you were an honest man. And the "Holodeck Court" stage is set . . .
Having no reason not to believe that what you heard in grade school was absolutely true, you spend your money on filings, legal advice (even if an attorney will not take the case), or legal fees if an attorney will take it. Sometimes you even "count yourself blessed" that you have found an attorney who is willing to help you - so you think (see Triangle and Two Defense for more on this). You know your case is a slam-dunk win. And thus the curtain on the holodeck court stage opens and the bait-and-switch begins . . .
You think certainly the first couple of rulings must have been a misunderstanding. You may tell yourself that you have to do more legal research and write more clearly. Then, they will certainly see that you have been wronged. So you continue to spend your money and your time on this matter, even missing increasing amounts of work, because you are in this to right a wrong, just like your grade school teacher taught you. You certainly can't turn around now - you've come too far and you are just getting the hang of the legal research. You may still cry when the National Anthem is sung - and you certainly put your hand over your heart like any good American would. Perhaps you even fought to defend our freedom like so many honorable men (and women) have.
By now, they have you in the clutches of the "Double B." What is the "Double B" you ask? "Busy and Broke!"
Due to the bait and switch maneuver, you are now on the defense even though you are listed as the plaintiff. Next comes the final preparation for the dog-and-pony show - the final preparation for your day in court on the holodeck stage - and the implementation of the "Triple C" is ripe and ready.
As you get thoroughly busy, and more broke trying to answer the defense's frivolous motions, you continuously have to show that it is they who have obfuscated evidence and lied, not you as they have accused you. You spend day and night trying to explain yourself to the court. You answer their accusations by repeatedly explaining that you did not claim your wife on your taxes because she did not work, you injured your back ten years ago in a legitimate workers' compensation injury, and that you and your wife went to marriage counseling fifteen years ago only after your youngest son died.
Yes, the "Triple C" is being implemented against you in just its proper sequence. What is the "Triple C" you ask again? This is when good citizens, who's only crime is that they naively asked the courts to rule justly, are labeled as either a:
1. Criminal (who will believe him, he is a criminal tax-evader),
2. Con-man (who will believe him, he lied on his tax return, and was a
malingerer from work), and/or
3. Crazy person (who would believe him, he went to a shrink and is
paranoid delusional - ("get an I.M.E. - [Independent Medical Exam]
quick and get this psycho diagnosed! Call some doctor who
needs our repeat business" yells opposing counsel back stage).
The "Double B, Triple C" is in full effect now. You are not only exhausted, but you now have to worry about your reputation, the IRS audit that is bound to happen due to the opposition's trumped-up allegations, or an insurance company's claim that you were fraudulent in that workers' compensation injury so long ago. As the morass of this whirling dervish sucks you down further and further into its clutches, you can no longer see the path along which to exit. " What have I gotten myself into and how did I get here", you think as your friends start expressing the opinion that maybe you are a little too obsessed about this case?
As soon as the dust settles, albeit for only a moment, you finally begin to realize that maybe your grade school teacher missed something. By now you are thoroughly engulfed in the "Litigation Vortex" and you decide the only way out is to ask your "master," if it please the court, if you could be excused from the case? So, confused, broke, and worn down, as you try to escape the Litigation Vortex's legal assault, you choose this road to perdition, and the judge quickly rules that you are dropping the case as he slams down his loaded gavel! "Dismissed", he bellows! But then you learn that you are indeed a money maker - but for the other side - as your master gleefully rules that you must pay opposing party's legal fees and costs for filing such a frivolous law suit against them in the first place (usually known as displaying "vexatious conduct"), and, in shock and confusion, and with a cold, tightly knotted anger in the pit of your stomach that will not go away, you quietly and sadly bend your knee and humbly go back to picking the "master's" cotton.
And so it goes in the "Litigation Vortex" on the stage of the Holodeck Court where nothing is as it appears, and where a plaintiff is never to be seen again - with money.
This description of course, is just the beginning of the Litigation Vortex because you may now decide to appeal, file a complaint against the judge, and continue asking the judges to find themselves corrupt. Although you now know that your grade school teacher was wrong, there is still something in you that cannot accept that the injustices you experienced are the status quo. So you continue to go round and round in the vortex trying to find someone who will help you prove that what had happened to you was just a fluke. At this stage, you still believe that the next judge will certainly see the manifest injustice that was perpetrated against you and will make the appropriate ruling to correct it.
I liken these subsequent filings to someone who is a compulsive gambler who only wants to win his money back. Although it is not an addiction or compulsion you have, you and the gambler are mistaken in not realizing that the odds are against you and that the deck is stacked. Although not addicted we cannot be like that gambler, who does not accept reality and, therefore, continues to become more busy and broke. We must realize that we are indeed on a holodeck in the Litigation Vortex.
There are ways to possibly survive, and sometimes even thrive in the "Litigation Vortex," but you need to learn more about the real rules of court before I can even begin to describe methods that can work in certain settings. The stage is further set in the Triangle and Two Defense section of my book, "Holodeck Law" and may be of particular interest to anyone who has ever played basketball. Until we understand the stage we are on, I will not be able to describe some techniques which can be used to get you extracted from the vortex, perhaps with your shirt still on your back and maybe even with a few dollars in your pocket. But realize, that no matter what you learn from this book, the deck will almost always be stacked against you and you must first realize this truth before you will ever begin to have a fighting chance if and when you find yourself on the holodeck court.
Triangle and Two Defense is designed to help you learn who your real enemy(s) is (are). It describes who really has you turned upside-down in the centrifuge of "Courtroom, Inc." while you spin violently until every last dime is centrifugally spun from your pockets. It also describes some of the real rules of the Holodeck Court.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man (or woman), I put childish ways behind me. I Cor. 13: 11
Linda L. Kennedy
Attorney at Law
|AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM IS CORRUPT BEYOND RECOGNITION
Judge Tells Harvard Law School by Geraldine Hawkins
The American legal system has been corrupted almost beyond recognition, Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, told the Federalist Society of Harvard Law School on February 28.
She said that the question of what is morally right is routinely sacrificed to what is politically expedient. The change has come because legal philosophy has descended to nihilism.
"The integrity of law, its religious roots, its transcendent quality are disappearing. I saw the movie 'Chicago' with Richard Gere the other day. That's the way the public thinks about lawyers," she told the students.
"The first 100 years of American lawyers were trained on Blackstone, who wrote that: 'The law of nature … dictated by God himself … is binding … in all counties and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all force and all their authority … from this original.' The Framers created a government of limited power with this understanding of the rule of law - that it was dependent on transcendent religious obligation," said Jones.
She said that the business about all of the Founding Fathers being deists is "just wrong," or "way overblown." She says they believed in "faith and reason," and this did not lead to intolerance.
"This is not a prescription for intolerance or narrow sectarianism," she continued, "for unalienable rights were given by God to all our fellow citizens. Having lost sight of the moral and religious foundations of the rule of law, we are vulnerable to the destruction of our freedom, our equality before the law and our self-respect. It is my fervent hope that this new century will experience a revival of the original understanding of the rule of law and its roots.
"The answer is a recovery of moral principle, the sine qua non of an orderly society. Post 9/11, many events have been clarified. It is hard to remain a moral relativist when your own people are being killed."
According to the judge, the first contemporary threat to the rule of law comes from within the legal system itself. Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America and one of the first writers to observe the United States from the outside looking- in, "described lawyers as a natural aristocracy in America," Jones told the students. "The intellectual basis of their profession and the study of law based on venerable precedents bred in them habits of order and a taste for formalities and predictability." As Tocqueville saw it, "These qualities enabled attorneys to stand apart from the passions of the majority. Lawyers were respected by the citizens and able to guide them and moderate the public's whims. Lawyers were essential to tempering the potential tyranny of the majority.
"Some lawyers may still perceive our profession in this flattering light, but to judge from polls and the tenor of lawyer jokes, I doubt the public shares Tocqueville's view anymore, and it is hard for us to do so.
"The legal aristocracy have shed their professional independence for the temptations and materialism associated with becoming businessmen. Because law has become a self-avowed business, pressure mounts to give clients the advice they want to hear, to pander to the clients' goal through deft manipulation of the law. … While the business mentality produces certain benefits, like occasional competition to charge clients lower fees, other adverse effects include advertising and shameless self-promotion. The legal system has also been wounded by lawyers who themselves no longer respect the rule of law,"
The judge quoted Kenneth Starr as saying, "It is decidedly unchristian to win at any cost," and added that most lawyers agree with him. However, "An increasingly visible and vocal number apparently believe that the strategic use of anger and incivility will achieve their aims. Others seem uninhibited about making misstatements to the court or their opponents or destroying or falsifying evidence," she claimed. "When lawyers cannot be trusted to observe the fair processes essential to maintaining the rule of law, how can we expect the public to respect the process?"
Lawsuits Do Not Bring 'Social Justice'
Another pernicious development within the legal system is the misuse of lawsuits, according to her. "We see lawsuits wielded as weapons of revenge," she says. "Lawsuits are brought that ultimately line the pockets of lawyers rather than their clients. … The lawsuit is not the best way to achieve social justice, and to think it is, is a seriously flawed hypothesis. There are better ways to achieve social goals than by going into court."
Jones said that employment litigation is a particularly fertile field for this kind of abuse. "Seldom are employment discrimination suits in our court supported by direct evidence of race or sex-based animosity. Instead, the courts are asked to revisit petty interoffice disputes and to infer invidious motives from trivial comments or work-performance criticism. Recrimination, second-guessing and suspicion plague the workplace when tenuous discrimination suits are filed … creating an atmosphere in which many corporate defendants are forced into costly settlements because they simply cannot afford to vindicate their positions.
"While the historical purpose of the common law was to compensate for individual injuries, this new litigation instead purports to achieve redistributive social justice. Scratch the surface of the attorneys' self-serving press releases, however, and one finds how enormously profitable social redistribution is for those lawyers who call themselves 'agents of change.'"
Jones wonders, "What social goal is achieved by transferring millions of dollars to the lawyers, while their clients obtain coupons or token rebates." The judge quoted George Washington who asked in his Farewell Address, "Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths in courts of justice?"
Similarly, asked Jones, how can a system founded on law survive if the administrators of the law daily display their contempt for it? "Lawyers' private morality has definite public consequences," she said. "Their misbehavior feeds on itself, encouraging disrespect and debasement of the rule of law as the public become encouraged to press their own advantage in a system they perceive as manipulatable."
The second threat to the rule of law comes from government, which is encumbered with agencies that have made the law so complicated that it is difficult to decipher and often contradicts itself. "Agencies have an inherent tendency to expand their mandate," says Jones. "At the same time, their decision-making often becomes parochial and short-sighted. They may be captured by the entities that are ostensibly being regulated, or they may pursue agency self- interest at the expense of the public welfare. Citizens left at the mercy of selective and unpredictable agency action have little recourse."
Jones recommends three books by Philip Howard: The Death of Common Sense, The Collapse of the Common Good and The Lost Art of Drawing the Line, which further delineate this problem. The third and most comprehensive threat to the rule of law arises from contemporary legal philosophy.
"Throughout my professional life, American legal education has been ruled by theories like positivism, the residue of legal realism, critical legal studies, post-modernism and other philosophical fashions," said Jones. "Each of these theories has a lot to say about the 'is' of law, but none of them addresses the 'ought,' the moral foundation or direction of law."
Jones quoted Roger C. Cramton, a law professor at Cornell University, who wrote in the 1970s that "the ordinary religion of the law school classroom" is "a moral relativism tending toward nihilism, a pragmatism tending toward an amoral instrumentalism, a realism tending toward cynicism, an individualism tending toward atomism, and a faith in reason and democratic processes tending toward mere credulity and idolatry."
No 'Great Awakening' In Law School Classrooms
The judge said ruefully, "There has been no Great Awakening in the law school classroom since those words were written." She maintained that now it is even worse because faith and democratic processes are breaking down.
"The problem with legal philosophy today is that it reflects all too well the broader post-Enlightenment problem of philosophy," Jones said. She quoted Ernest Fortin, who wrote in Crisis magazine: "The whole of modern thought … has been a series of heroic attempts to reconstruct a world of human meaning and value on the basis of … our purely mechanistic understanding of the universe."
Jones said that all of these threats to the rule of law have a common thread running through them, and she quoted Professor Harold Berman to identify it: "The traditional Western beliefs in the structural integrity of law, its ongoingness, its religious roots, its transcendent qualities, are disappearing not only from the minds of law teachers and law students but also from the consciousness of the vast majority of citizens, the people as a whole; and more than that, they are disappearing from the law itself. The law itself is becoming more fragmented, more subjective, geared more to expediency and less to morality. … The historical soil of the Western legal tradition is being washed away … and the tradition itself is threatened with collapse."
Judge Jones concluded with another thought from George Washington: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens."
Upon taking questions from students, Judge Jones recommended Michael Novak's book, On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense. "Natural law is not a prescriptive way to solve problems," Jones said. "It is a way to look at life starting with the Ten Commandments."
Natural law provides "a framework for government that permits human freedom," Jones said. "If you take that away, what are you left with? Bodily senses? The will of the majority? The communist view? What is it - 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need?' I don't even remember it, thank the Lord," she said to the amusement of the students.
"I am an unabashed patriot - I think the United States is the healthiest society in the world at this point in time," Jones said, although she did concede that there were other ways to accommodate the rule of law, such as constitutional monarchy. "Our legal system is way out of kilter," she said. "The tort litigating system is wreaking havoc. Look at any trials that have been conducted on TV. These lawyers are willing to say anything."
Potential Nominee to Supreme Court
Judge Edith Jones has been mentioned as a potential nominee to the Supreme Court in the Bush administration, but does not relish the idea. "Have you looked at what people have to go through who are nominated for federal appointments? They have to answer questions like, 'Did you pay your nanny taxes?' 'Is your yard man illegal?'
"In those circumstances, who is going to go out to be a federal judge? People who have accomplished nothing. In other words, federal employees." Judge Edith H. Jones has a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. She was appointed to the Fifth Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1985. Her office is in the U.S. Courthouse in Houston.
The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 when a group of law students from Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago and Yale organized a symposium on federalism at Yale Law School. These students were unhappy with the academic climate on their campuses for some of the reasons outlined by Judge Jones. The Federalist Society was created to be a forum for a wider range of legal viewpoints than they were hearing in the course of their studies.
From the four schools mentioned above, the Society has grown to include over 150 law school chapters. The Harvard chapter, with over 250 members, is one of the nation's largest and most active. They seek to contribute to civilized dialogue at the Law School by providing a libertarian and conservative voice on campus and by sponsoring speeches and debates on a wide range of legal and policy issues.
The Federalist Society consists of libertarians and conservatives interested in the current state of the legal profession. It is founded on three principles: 1) the state exists to preserve freedom, 2) the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution and 3) it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to state what the law is, not what it should be.
|LINKS TO FREE ATTORNEY SERVICES
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|LAWYERS TELL IT FROM THE INSIDE
is a well known trial lawyer, recognized nationwide for his powerful courtroom victories, including the Estate of Karen Silkwood against Kerr-McGee and the defense of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos and White Separatist Randy Weaver. In an excerpt from his book O.J. The Last Word (St. Martin's Press, 1997), Spence writes his portrait of America and its troubled judicial system. He has a low esteem of judges, finds that they abuse attorneys and their clients.
LAWRENCE R. VELVEL
Is the Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law. In an introduction to a collection of essays on judicial misconduct Dean Velvel expresses grave concern over how the conduct of judges is destroying faith, trust and confidence in the legal system.
LINDA L. KENNEDY
An attorney in Virginia likens the courtroom to an illusion, the Star Trek "Holodeck,"
where nothing is as it appears, and the judges and attorneys are mere images of justice.
You get sucked into a litigation vortex where justice is a mere illusion and the merits
of the case and the applicable law are disregarded.
LINDA L. KENNEDY
Yet another article by attorney Kennedy shows that some courts are biased and functionally
similar to military courts. She writes that the concern of some constitutional attorneys
that the military courts may be unfair because of denials civil rights is moot, when the
general public is alrea-dy being denied their civil rights in court. She urges not to
look at the situation in a test tube any longer and faults the media for failing to report
Whistleblower Puts Virginia Supreme Court on Trial
An attorney located in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area who practices in the Virginia
courts. She finds based on her experience, that attorneys who are not part of the inner
circle of the court cannot get justice for their clients when the opposing counsel is close
to the judge. She complains that the Bar controls the lawyers and they are running the
ethical lawyers out of practice.
Responds to a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling suspending her from law practice for six
months. She claims that the Bar is engaging in persecution of honest attorneys and force
the attorney to admit that they were wrong to vindicate the Bar.
An attorney in Tacoma, Washington, exposed a corrupt judge, who was eventually removed
from the bench and was suspended by the Bar for two years from the practice of law. But,
Schafer had to face Bar disciplinary proceedings for six years on charges that he revealed
confidential admission from one of his clients abut illicit payments to the
"Cadillac Judge" Grant Anderson. The Bar recommend-ed that Schafer be suspended for
a year which is he fighting in the Washington State Supreme Court. Schafer asserts
in defense, that speaking out was more important than the rules that forbid it.
Schafer posts the papers involved in the Bar proceedings giving a full insight of his
battle against the self serving interests of the legal system run by lawyers where
Schafer says, the attorney-client confidentiality is sacred even when the dirty secret
is an illegal kickback.
JOHN E. WOLFGRAM
An attorney in California, he explored the legal system from the point of view that
the practical value of the Constitution depends on the people’s effective ability
to enforce it. However, he finds that the people’s right to petition has been stolen
from them. He explores the dual meaning of the petition clause the procedural
due process and substantive due process. He distinguishes them as the right to
file suit and the right to have the claim justly redressed. Wolfgram establishes
that the public is being unjustly denied the right to substantive due process,
the right to be heard on the substance of their petition.
An attorney in Oregon became aware in 1990 of the widespread corruption in the Oregon
court system, specifically through one of his clients a beneficiary of the Donald
Kettleberg estate. Ever since then Weidner has been engaged full-time fighting the
corruption and judicial abuses which is having a devastating impact on many innocent
people all over the state of Oregon. In a book published on the Internet in 2002,
author Hedy Hammond describes in detail as experienced by Weidner the behind the
scene deal makings by judges and lawyers to confiscate people’s property and to
deprive them of their rights for personal gain. No one has ever disputed in court
the charges Weidner leveled at corrupt judges, attorneys, public employees and
politicians. They merely set out to silence him by throwing him into jail
repeatedly, to punish him for his failure and refusal to conform. This true
story is most enlightening and most unusual for an attorney to dare to fight
back as Weidner did so.
Canon 1 A Judge Should Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the
Canon 2. A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of
Impropriety in All Activities.
Canon 3. A Judge Should Perform the Duties of Office Impartially and
Canon 4. A Judge May Conduct the Judge's Extra-Judicial Activities
to Minimize the Risk of Conflict with Judicial Obligations.
Canon 5. A Judge Should Refrain From Inappropriate Political
Canon 6. A Judge Shall Comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct.
Canon 7. Effective Date of Compliance
Canon 8. Construction and Terminology of the Code.
Our legal system is based on the principle that an independent, fair
and competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that
govern us. The role of the judiciary is central to American
concepts of justice and the rule of law. Intrinsic to all sections
of this Code of Judicial Conduct are the precepts that judges,
individually and collectively, must respect and honor the judicial
office as a public trust and strive to enhance and maintain
confidence in our legal system. The judge is an arbiter of facts
and law for the resolution of disputes and a highly visible symbol
of government under the rule of law.
The Code of Judicial Conduct is not intended as an exhaustive guide
for the conduct of judges. They should also be governed in their
judicial and personal conduct by general ethical standards. The
Code is intended, however, to state basic standards which should
govern the conduct of all judges and to provide guidance to assist
judges in establishing and maintaining high standards of judicial
and personal conduct.
Upholding the Integrity
and Independence of the Judiciary
An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice
in our society. A judge should participate in establishing,
maintaining and enforcing high standards of conduct, and should
personally observe those standards so that the integrity and
independence of the judiciary is preserved. The provisions of this
Code are to be construed and applied to further that objective.
Avoiding Impropriety and the Appearance of
Impropriety In All of the Judge's Activities
A. A judge shall comply with the law and should act at all times
in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and
impartiality of the judiciary.
B. A judge shall not allow any relationship to influence
judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige
of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or
others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the
impression that they are in a special position to influence the
judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
C. A judge shall not knowingly hold membership in any
organization that practices discrimination prohibited by law.
Performing the Duties of Judicial Office
Impartially and Diligently
A. Judicial Duties in General.
The judicial duties of a judge
take precedence over all the judge's other activities. Judicial
duties include all the duties of the judge's office prescribed by
law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards
B. Adjudicative Responsibilities.
(1) A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the
judge except those in which disqualification is required or recusal
(2) A judge should be faithful to the law and shall maintain
professional competence in it. A judge shall not be swayed by
partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
(3) A judge shall require order and decorum in proceedings
before the judge.
(4) A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to
litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge
deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of
lawyers, and of staff, court officials and others subject to the
judge's direction and control.
(5) A judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or
(6) A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial
duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including
but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion,
national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or
socioeconomic status, and shall not knowingly permit staff, court
officials and others subject to the judge's direction and control to
(7) A judge shall require lawyers in proceedings before the
court to refrain from manifesting, by words or conduct, bias or
prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability,
age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status against parties,
witnesses, counsel or others. This requirement does not preclude
legitimate advocacy when any of these factors is an issue in the
(8) A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal
interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be
heard according to law. A judge shall not initiate, permit, or
consider ex parte communications or other communications made to the
judge outside the presence of the parties between the judge and a
party, an attorney, a guardian or attorney ad litem, an alternative
dispute resolution neutral, or any other court appointee concerning
the merits of a pending or impending judicial proceeding. A judge
shall require compliance with this subsection by court personnel
subject to the judge's direction and control. This subsection does
(a) communications concerning uncontested administrative or
uncontested procedural matters;
(b) conferring separately with the parties and/or their lawyers
in an effort to mediate or settle matters, provided, however, that
the judge shall first give notice to all parties and not thereafter
hear any contested matters between the parties except with the
consent of all parties;
(c) obtaining the advice of a disinterested expert on the law
applicable to a proceeding before the judge if the judge gives
notice to the parties of the person consulted and the substance of
the advice, and affords the parties reasonable opportunity to
(d) consulting with other judges or with court personnel;
(e) considering an ex parte communication expressly authorized by
(9) A judge should dispose of all judicial matters promptly,
efficiently and fairly.
(10) A judge shall abstain from public comment about a pending or
impending proceeding which may come before the judge's court in a
manner which suggests to a reasonable person the judge's probable
decision on any particular case. The judge shall require similar
abstention on the part of court personnel subject to the judge's
direction and control. This section does not prohibit judges from
making public statements in the course of their official duties or
from explaining for public information the procedures of the court.
This section does not apply to proceedings in which the judge is a
litigant in a personal capacity.
(11) A judge shall not disclose or use, for any purpose unrelated
to judicial duties, nonpublic information acquired in a judicial
capacity. The discussions, votes, positions taken, and writings of
appellate judges and court personnel about causes are confidences of
the court and shall be revealed only through a court's judgment, a
written opinion or in accordance with Supreme Court guidelines for a
court approved history project.
C. Administrative Responsibilities.
(1) A judge should diligently and promptly discharge the judge's
administrative responsibilities without bias or prejudice and
maintain professional competence in judicial administration, and
should cooperate with other judges and court officials in the
administration of court business.
(2) A judge should require staff, court officials and others
subject to the judge's direction and control to observe the
standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to the judge and to
refrain from manifesting bias or prejudice in the performance of
their official duties.
(3) A judge with supervisory authority for the judicial
performance of other judges should take reasonable measures to
assure the prompt disposition of matters before them and the proper
performance of their other judicial responsibilities.
(4) A judge shall not make unnecessary appointments. A
judge shall exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the
basis of merit. A judge shall avoid nepotism and favoritism. A
judge shall not approve compensation of appointees beyond the fair
value of services rendered.
(5) A judge shall not fail to comply with Rule 12 of the
Rules of Judicial Administration, knowing that the failure to comply
is in violation of the rule.
D. Disciplinary Responsibilities.
(1) A judge who receives information clearly establishing that
another judge has committed a violation of this Code should take
appropriate action. A judge having knowledge that another judge has
committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial
question as to the other judge's fitness for office shall inform the
State Commission on Judicial Conduct or take other appropriate
(2) A judge who receives information clearly establishing that a
lawyer has committed a violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of
Professional Conduct should take appropriate action. A judge having
knowledge that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Texas
Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial
question as to the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a
lawyer in other respects shall inform the Office of the General
Counsel of the State Bar of Texas or take other appropriate action.
Conducting the Judge's Extra-Judicial Activities to
Minimize the Risk of Conflict with Judicial Obligations
A. Extra-Judicial Activities in General. A judge shall conduct
all of the judge's extra-judicial activities so that they do not:
(1) cast reasonable doubt on the judge's capacity to act
impartially as a judge; or
(2) interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.
B. Activities to Improve the Law. A judge may:
(1) speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-
judicial activities concerning the law, the legal system, the
administration of justice and non-legal subjects, subject to the
requirements of this Code; and,
(2) serve as a member, officer, or director of an
organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of
the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A
judge may assist such an organization in raising funds and may
participate in their management and investment, but should not
personally participate in public fund raising activities. He or she
may make recommendations to public and private fund-granting
agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal
system and the administration of justice.
C. Civic or Charitable Activities. A judge may participate in
civic and charitable activities that do not reflect adversely upon
the judge's impartiality or interfere with the performance of
judicial duties. A judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee
or non-legal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable,
fraternal, or civic organization not conducted for the profit of its
members, subject to the following limitations:
(1) A judge should not serve if it is likely that the
organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily
come before the judge or will be regularly or frequently engaged in
adversary proceedings in any court.
(2) A judge shall not solicit funds for any educational,
religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, but may be
listed as an officer, director, delegate, or trustee of such an
organization, and may be a speaker or a guest of honor at an
organization's fund raising events.
(3) A judge should not give investment advice to such an
organization, but may serve on its board of directors or trustees
even though it has the responsibility for approving investment
D. Financial Activities.
(1) A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings
that tend to reflect adversely on the judge's impartiality,
interfere with the proper performance of the judicial duties,
exploit his or her judicial position, or involve the judge in
frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before
the court on which the judge serves. This limitation does not
prohibit either a judge or candidate from soliciting funds for
appropriate campaign or officeholder expenses as permitted by state
(2) Subject to the requirements of subsection (1), a judge may
hold and manage investments, including real estate, and engage in
other remunerative activity including the operation of a business.
A judge shall not be an officer, director or manager of a publicly
owned business. For purposes of this Canon, a "publicly owned
business" is a business having more than ten owners who are not
related to the judge by consanguinity or affinity within the third
degree of relationship.
(3) A judge should manage any investments and other economic
interests to minimize the number of cases in which the judge is
disqualified. As soon as the judge can do so without serious
financial detriment, the judge should divest himself or herself of
investments and other economic interests that might require frequent
disqualification. A judge shall be informed about the judge's
personal and fiduciary economic interests, and make a reasonable
effort to be informed about the personal economic interests of any
family member residing in the judge's household.
(4) Neither a judge nor a family member residing in the
judge's household shall accept a gift, bequest, favor, or loan from
anyone except as follows:
(a) a judge may accept a gift incident to a public testimonial
to the judge; books and other resource materials supplied by
publishers on a complimentary basis for official use; or an
invitation to the judge and spouse to attend a bar-related function
or activity devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system,
or the administration of justice;
(b) a judge or a family member residing in the judge's
household may accept ordinary social hospitality; a gift, bequest,
favor, or loan from a relative; a gift from a friend for a special
occasion such as a wedding, engagement, anniversary, or birthday, if
the gift is fairly commensurate with the occasion and the
relationship; a loan from a lending institution in its regular
course of business on the same terms generally available to persons
who are not judges; or a scholarship or fellowship awarded on the
same terms applied to other applicants;
(c) a judge or a family member residing in the judge's household
may accept any other gift, bequest, favor, or loan only if the donor
is not a party or person whose interests have come or are likely to
come before the judge;
(d) a gift, award or benefit incident to the business,
profession or other separate activity of a spouse or other family
member residing in the judge's household, including gifts, awards
and benefits for the use of both the spouse or other family member
and the judge (as spouse or family member), provided the gift, award
or benefit could not reasonably be perceived as intended to
influence the judge in the performance of judicial duties.
E. Fiduciary Activities.
(1) A judge shall not serve as executor, administrator or other
personal representative, trustee, guardian, attorney in fact or
other fiduciary, except for the estate, trust or person of a member
of the judge's family, and then only if such service will not
interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.
(2) A judge shall not serve as a fiduciary if it is likely that
the judge as a fiduciary will be engaged in proceedings that would
ordinarily come before the judge, or if the estate, trust, or ward
becomes involved in adversary proceedings in the court on which the
judge serves or one under its appellate jurisdiction.
(3) The same restrictions on financial activities that apply
to a judge personally also apply to the judge while acting in a
F. Service as Arbitrator or Mediator. An active full-time
judge shall not act as an arbitrator or mediator for compensation
outside the judicial system, but a judge may encourage settlement in
the performance of official duties.
G. Practice of Law. A judge shall not practice law except as
permitted by statute or this Code. Notwithstanding this
prohibition, a judge may act pro se and may, without compensation,
give legal advice to and draft or review documents for a member of
the judge's family.
H. Extra-Judicial Appointments. Except as otherwise provided by
constitution and statute, a judge should not accept appointment to a
governmental committee, commission, or other position that is
concerned with issues of fact or policy on matters other than the
improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of
justice. A judge, however, may represent his or her country, state,
or locality on ceremonial occasions or in connection with
historical, educational, and cultural activities.
I. Compensation, Reimbursement and Reporting.
(1) Compensation and Reimbursement. A judge may receive
compensation and reimbursement of expenses for the extra-judicial
activities permitted by this Code, if the source of such payments
does not give the appearance of influencing the judge's performance
of judicial duties or otherwise give the appearance of impropriety.
(a) Compensation shall not exceed a reasonable amount nor shall it
exceed what a person who is not a judge would receive for the same
(b) Expense reimbursement shall be limited to the actual cost of
travel, food, and lodging reasonably incurred by the judge and,
where appropriate to the occasion, by the judge's family. Any
payment in excess of such an amount is compensation.
(2) Public Reports. A judge shall file financial and
other reports as required by law.
Refraining From Inappropriate Political Activity
(1) A judge or judicial candidate shall not make statements that
indicate an opinion on any issue that may be subject to judicial
interpretation by the office which is being sought or held, except
that discussion of an individual's judicial philosophy is
appropriate if conducted in a manner which does not suggest to a
reasonable person a probable decision on any particular case.
(2) A judge or judicial candidate shall not:
(i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office regarding
judicial duties other than the faithful and impartial performance of
the duties of the office, but may state a position regarding the
conduct of administrative duties;
(ii) knowingly or recklessly misrepresent the identity,
qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the
candidate or an opponent.
(3) A judge or judicial candidate shall not authorize the
public use of his or her name endorsing another candidate for any
public office, except that either may indicate support for a
political party. A judge or judicial candidate may attend political
events and express his or her views on political matters in accord
with this Canon and Canon 3B(10).
(4) A judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a
candidate in a contested election for a non-judicial office either
in a primary or in a general or in a special election. A judge may
continue to hold judicial office while being a candidate for
election to or serving as a delegate in a state constitutional
convention or while being a candidate for election to any judicial
(5) A judge or judicial candidate subject to the Judicial
Campaign Fairness Act, Tex. Elec. Code §253.151, et seq.
(the "Act"), shall not knowingly commit an act for which he or she
knows the Act imposes a penalty. Contributions returned in
accordance with Sections 253.155(e), 253.157(b) or 253.160(b) of the
Act are not a violation of this paragraph.
Compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct
A. The following persons shall comply with all provisions of
(1) An active, full-time justice or judge of one of the
(a) the Supreme Court,
(b) the Court of Criminal Appeals,
(c) courts of appeals,
(d) district courts,
(e) criminal district courts, and
(f) statutory county courts.
(2) A full-time commissioner, master, magistrate, or referee of
a court listed in (1) above.
B. A County Judge who performs judicial functions shall comply
with all provisions of this Code
except the judge is not required to comply:
(1) when engaged in duties which relate to the judge's role in the
administration of the county;
(2) with Canons 4D(2), 4D(3), or 4H;
(3) with Canon 4G, except practicing law in the court on which he
or she serves or in any court subject
to the appellate jurisdiction of the county court, or acting
as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or
she has served as a judge or in any proceeding related
(4) with Canon 5(4).
C. Justices of the Peace and Municipal Court Judges.
(1) A justice of the peace or municipal court judge shall comply
with all provisions of this Code, except the judge is not required
(a) with Canon 3B(8) pertaining to ex parte communications; in
lieu thereof a justice of the peace or municipal court judge shall
comply with 6C(2) below;
(b) with Canons 4D(2), 4D(3), 4E, or 4H;
(c) with Canon 4F, unless the court on which the judge serves may
have jurisdiction of the matter
or parties involved in the arbitration or mediation; or
(d) if an attorney, with Canon 4G, except practicing law in the
court on which he or she serves, or
acting as a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she has
served as a judge or in any
proceeding related thereto.
(e) with Canons 5(4).
(2) A justice of the peace or a municipal court judge, except as
authorized by law, shall not directly or indirectly initiate,
permit, nor consider ex parte or other communications concerning the
merits of a pending judicial proceeding. This subsection does not
prohibit communications concerning:
(a) uncontested administrative matters,
(b) uncontested procedural matters,
(c) magistrate duties and functions,
(d) determining where jurisdiction of an impending claim or dispute
(e) determining whether a claim or dispute might more appropriately
be resolved in some other
judicial or non-judicial forum,
(f) mitigating circumstances following a plea of nolo contendere or
guilty for a fine-only offense, or
(g) any other matters where ex parte communications are
contemplated or authorized by law.
D. A Part-time commissioner, master, magistrate, or referee of a
court listed in 6A(1) above:
(1) shall comply with all provisions of this Code, except he or she
is not required to comply with Canons
4D(2), 4E, 4F, 4G or 4H, and
(2) should not practice law in the court which he or she serves or
in any court subject to the appellate
jurisdiction of the court which he or she serves, or act as
a lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she
has served as a commissioner, master, magistrate, or
referee, or in any other proceeding related
E. A Judge Pro Tempore, while acting as such:
(1) shall comply with all provisions of this Code applicable to
the court on which he or she is serving,
except he or she is not required to comply with Canons 4D
(2), 4D(3), 4E, 4F, 4G or 4H, and
(2) after serving as a judge pro tempore, should not act as a
lawyer in a proceeding in which he or she
has served as a judge or in any other proceeding related
F. A Senior Judge, or a former appellate or district judge, or
a retired or former statutory county
court judge who has consented to be subject to assignment
as a judicial officer:
(1) shall comply with all the provisions of this Code except he or
she is not required to comply with
Canon 4D(2), 4E, 4F, 4G, or 4H, but
(2) should refrain from judicial service during the period of an
extra-judicial appointment not permitted by
G. Candidates for Judicial Office.
(1) Any person seeking elective judicial office listed in Canon 6A
(1) shall be subject to the same
standards of Canon 5 that are required of members of the
(2) Any judge who violates this Code shall be subject to sanctions
by the State Commission on Judicial
(3) Any lawyer who is a candidate seeking judicial office who
violates Canon 5 or other relevant
provisions of this Code is subject to disciplinary action by
the State Bar of Texas.
(4) The conduct of any other candidate for elective judicial
office, not subject to paragraphs (2) and (3)
of this section, who violates Canon 5 or other relevant
provisions of the Code is subject to review by
the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, or the local
District Attorney for appropriate action.
Any lawyer who contributes to the violation of Canons 3B
(7), 3B(10), 4D(4), 5, or 6C(2), or other relevant provisions of
this Code, is subject to disciplinary action by the State Bar of
Effective Date of Compliance
A person to whom this Code becomes applicable should arrange his or
her affairs as soon as reasonably possible to comply with it.
Construction and Terminology of the Code
The Code of Judicial Conduct is intended to establish basic
standards for ethical conduct of judges. It consists of specific
rules set forth in Sections under broad captions called Canons.
The Sections are rules of reason, which should be applied
consistent with constitutional requirements, statutes, other court
rules and decisional law and in the context of all relevant
circumstances. The Code is to be construed so as not to impinge on
the essential independence of judges in making judicial decisions.
The Code is designed to provide guidance to judges and
candidates for judicial office and to provide a structure for
regulating conduct through the State Commission on Judicial
Conduct. It is not designed or intended as a basis for civil
liability or criminal prosecution. Furthermore, the purpose of the
Code would be subverted if the Code were invoked by lawyers for mere
tactical advantage in a proceeding.
It is not intended, however, that every transgression will
result in disciplinary action. Whether disciplinary action is
appropriate, and the degree of discipline to be imposed, should be
determined through a reasonable and reasoned application of the text
and should depend on such factors as the seriousness of the
transgression, whether there is a pattern of improper activity and
the effect of the improper activity on others or on the judicial
(1) "Shall" or "shall not" denotes binding obligations the
violation of which can result in disciplinary action.
(2) "Should" or "should not" relates to aspirational goals and as
a statement of what is or is not appropriate conduct but not as a
binding rule under which a judge may be disciplined.
(3) "May" denotes permissible discretion or, depending on the
context, refers to action that is not covered by specific
(4) "De minimis" denotes an insignificant interest that could not
raise reasonable question as to a judge's impartiality.
(5) "Economic interest" denotes ownership of a more than de
minimis legal or equitable interest, or a relationship as officer,
director, advisor or other active participant in the affairs of a
party, except that:
(i) ownership of an interest in a mutual or common investment
fund that holds securities is not an economic interest in such
securities unless the judge participates in the management of the
fund or a proceeding pending or impending before the judge could
substantially affect the value of the interest;
(ii) service by a judge as an officer, director, advisor or
other active participant, in an educational, religious, charitable,
fraternal, or civic organization or service by a judge's spouse,
parent or child as an officer, director, advisor or other active
participant in any organization does not create an economic interest
in securities held by that organization;
(iii) a deposit in a financial institution, the proprietary
interest of a policy holder in a mutual insurance company, of a
depositor in a mutual savings association or of a member in a credit
union, or a similar proprietary interest, is not an economic
interest in the organization unless a proceeding pending or
impending before the judge could substantially affect the value of
the interest; and
(iv) ownership of government securities is not an economic
interest in the issuer unless a proceeding pending or impending
before the judge could substantially affect the value of the
(6) "Fiduciary" includes such relationships as executor,
administrator, trustee, and guardian.
(7) "Knowingly," "knowledge," "known" or "knows" denotes actual
knowledge of the fact in question. A person's knowledge may be
inferred from circumstances.
(8) "Law" denotes court rules as well as statutes, constitutional
provisions and decisional law.
(9) "Member of the judge's (or the candidate's) family" denotes a
spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent or other relative or
person with whom the candidate maintains a close familial
(10) "Family member residing in the judge's household" means any
relative of a judge by blood or marriage, or a person treated by a
judge as a member of the judge's family, who resides at the judge's
(11) "Require." The rules prescribing that a judge "require"
certain conduct of others are, like all of the rules in this Code,
rules of reason. The use of the term "require" in that context
means a judge is to exercise reasonable direction and control over
the conduct of those persons subject to the judge's direction and
(12) "Third degree of relationship." The following persons are
relatives within the third degree of relationship: great-
grandparent, grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister,
child, grandchild, great-grandchild, nephew or niece.
(13) "Retired Judge" means a person who receives from the Texas
Judicial Retirement System, Plan One or Plan Two, an annuity based
on service that was credited to the system. (Secs. 831.001 and
836.001, V.T.C.A. Government Code [Ch. 179, Sec. 1, 71st
(14) "Senior Judge" means a retired appellate or district judge
who has consented to be subject to assignment pursuant to Section
75.001, Government Code. [Ch. 359, 69th Legislature, Reg. Session
(15) "Statutory County Court Judge" means the judge of a county
court created by the legislature under Article V, Section 1, of the
Texas Constitution, including county courts at law, statutory
probate courts, county criminal courts, county criminal courts of
appeals, and county civil courts at law. (Sec. 21.009, V.T.C.A.
Government Code [Ch. 2, Sec. 1601(18), 71st Legislature (1989)])
(16) "County Judge" means the judge of the county court created in
each county by Article V, Section 15, of the Texas Constitution.
(Sec. 21.009, V.T.C.A. Government Code [Ch. 2, Sec. 1601(18), 71st
(17) "Part-time" means service on a continuing or periodic basis,
but with permission by law to devote time to some other profession
or occupation and for which the compensation for that reason is less
than that for full-time service.
(18) "Judge Pro Tempore" means a person who is appointed to act
temporarily as a judge.
Below is a link to Judicial Conduct Opinions:
FEDERAL COURT FAMILY LAW STATUES AND REGULATIONS
a.. 25 U.S. Code, Chapter 21
Indian Child Welfare Act
b.. 28 U.S. Code, Section 1738A
- Full Faith & Credit Given to Child Custody Determinations
c.. 42 U.S. Code, Section 620
- Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980
d.. 42 U.S. Code, Section 11601
- International Child Abduction Remedies Act
e.. 42 U.S. Code, Section 1983
- Civil Rights of Children
f.. 42 U.S. Code, Chapter 132
- Victims of Child Abuse
g.. 42 U.S. Code, Chapter 6
- The Children's Bureau
h.. 42 U.S. Code, Chapter 67
- Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment & Adoption Reform Act
i.. 42 U.S. Code, Chapter 7
- Social Security Act
j.. 42 U.S. Code, Section 620
- Adoption Assistance & Child Welfare Act of 1980
k.. Code of Federal Regulations Search