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Report: Over 1,500 American Judges Have Committed Misconduct

Reuters recently published a three-part series that appears to be the most comprehensive look at misconduct by American judges ever. Here's the scope of the project: "In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from the public key details of their offenses – including the identities of the judges themselves." The series includes a database of judges who have gotten in trouble in every state.

As a practicing lawyer in a rural area, what is particularly important about this series is that judges in small towns and cities often have little accountability beyond their own moral compasses. There aren't reporters sitting in the courtroom. There aren't a high volume of cases where other members of the public are present. Recently, I was pleased to see that a local village justice (and attorney) was arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend and violating orders of protection. But this series shows that may be the exception rather than the rule and having independent judicial conduct bodies with the power to investigate and discipline judges is important.

Here is the second installment of the series:

Here is the third installment of the series: