Judges shall not,
while a proceeding is pending or impending in any court, make any public
comment that might reasonably be expected to affect its outcome or impair its
fairness or make any nonpublic comment that might substantially interfere with
a fair trial or hearing.
As lawyers, however, we are not only allowed to speak
out, but have an affirmative duty as stated in RPC 8.2 (c):
A lawyer, in order
to assist in maintaining the fair and independent administration of justice,
should support and continue traditional efforts to defend judges and courts
from unjust criticism.
For every lawyer who speaks up for judges, there are
10 who resonate with silence or profound ambivalence. Some lawyers even
join in the attack - a form of cannibalism. The resulting loss of respect
for our judiciary fosters an even greater loss of respect for the entire legal
Many spurious attacks
emanate from professional "wannabes," who either purposely or innocently ignore
the fact that our justice system actually works very well to serve the public
while addressing necessary changes within our society. As we have seen in
election years, members of the judiciary are easy targets for politicians
looking for votes.
Even more disconcerting are attorneys with political
or other agendas who are openly critical of judges. Recently, we have seen
judicial candidates resort to mean-spirited and false
accusations to unseat
sitting judges, using such terms as "soft on crime" and "cookie cutter
justice". Lost in the lies, distortions and ridicule is the incredible
dedication, hard work and frequent sacrifices of personal time of our
judges. An example of this dedication is the implementation of a juvenile
drug court by the superior court judges in Spokane. This special court has
revolutionized community involvement in fighting one of the worst cancers to
infect our society (especially youth) - the proliferation of illegal street
drugs. In the words of Spokane County Superior Court Judge Neal Reilly,
"When I walk out of our juvenile drug court, I am exhausted, but for the first
time I feel exhilarated that this new court and its system will
Despite such efforts and
achievements, in today's climate of anger, frustration and vilification,
anti-lawyer propaganda has risen to new levels with the incorporation of
judge-bashing and judge-scaping. A retiring judge told me that in looking
back over 30 years on the bench, the decline in positive public perception of
judges has left him with a feeling of profound longing for what once was.
Another judge related her disappointment in
today's lack of knowledge by
most members of the media of a judge's role.
Lawyers often ask, "Well, what are we supposed to do about it?" We must
start by taking lawyers to task for spurious critical comments, innuendoes and
misinformation about our judges, and challenge those who seek political gain or
some private agenda by removing them from their soapboxes.
Criticism should be limited to those truly justified
cases and should be done in a constructive way. Regarding judicial critics
outside our profession, lawyers as a whole must work harder to provide them with
the basics of legal education. Media,
politicians and the general public should not be left to their own
resources. We cannot expect reporters or radio talk-show hosts to broadcast
with any accuracy or balance if they have little or no understanding of the
judicial branch of government. As officers of the court, we all have an
inherent duty to protect the integrity of the court, and make every effort to
curtail the increasing judicial disparagement seen in recent years. So
next time you see our judges unfairly assailed, take your duty under RPC 8.2 (C)
seriously - step forward and speak up.
Washington State Bar
News: Seattle, August 2000.
[REBUTTAL FROM J.A.I.L.
RE: Speak Up for Your
Mr. Eymann's article bespeaks the
reasons for judiciary distrust better than any words I could hope to utter but
let me give it a shot anyway.
Lets first list some of the terms he uses to describe the people who
provide his sustenance. 1) Ignorant 2) Spurious 3) Wannabes 4)
Mean-Spirited 5) Judge-bashers 6) Judge-scapers and the list
continues. This same man asserts, "Criticism should be limited to those
truly justified cases." He prattles on," Media, politicians, and the general
public should not be left to their own resources."
This bourgeois, elitist, condescending attitude
speaks loud and clear of the detachment experienced by virtually every
successful judge and attorney as well as the wannabes.
While judges and attorneys, such as our Mr.
Eymann, have been basking in their blinding omnipotence, those lowly citizens,
of whom he speaks so disparagingly, have been studying the law. We have valid
concerns. We wonder why no attorney will sign an exclusive employment contract
with his or her clients. We wonder how an attorney can "defend" us when we know
they are officers of the court. We wonder why attorneys will not divulge the
contents of the oath they swear in secret. We wonder why one must be a member of
an English organization (the BAR) in order to practice law in America. We
wonder why judges would rather acquit than provide a scope certification.
We wonder why the judges refuse to fully inform their jurors when "instructing"
them. We study verb-fiction law and understand how attorneys have scammed
the public with it, so be warned. We have been provided with the basics of
legal education but NOT by you my friend. We want the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth.
So help us, God?
For questions or comments on the above article,
John Morgan Duty II - Morhei3@...
The germ of
destruction of our nation is in the power
of the judiciary... -- Thomas
The Judiciary of the United States is the
subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working under ground to undermine
the foundations of our confederated fabric.
-- Thomas Jefferson
J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
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