Tag Archives: recusal

Legislators Eye End to ‘Private Reprimands’ for Judges

Legislators are eyeing repeal of the state law that allows keeping the admonishments wayward judges receive secret and imposing stricter rules concerning when judges must bow out of a case when accused of a conflict of interest.
Judges say making public the “private reprimands” now handed out by the Court of the Judiciary would be a bad policy move, but acknowledge the Legislature could take such a step.
Changing the rules for recusal of a judge, which are now established by the state Supreme Court, also is criticized on policy grounds. But it could also be a violation of the state constitution, according to Chris Craft, presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary (COJ).
Both proposals arose during recent hearings by an ad hoc committee appointed to review the COF and recommend changes to the 2012 legislative session. For much of the two days of hearings, the legislators listened to sometimes emotional complaints from citizens about judges they characterized as arrogant or abusive.
“I wish all the members (of the Legislature) could hear what we’ve heard,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet. “I think there is a need for serious change.”
Craft, who also is a Criminal Court judge in Memphis, defended the COJ during the proceedings. He said many of the complaints legislators heard — and the vast majority of all complaints received by COJ — are simply from

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