Complaints Against The Rhode Island Commission On Judicial Tenure and Discipline
There Is A HUGE DIFFERENCE Between The Canons Of Judicial Conduct And Judicial Misconduct As Defined By This Commission
|View the members of the Commission or visit their website
for complaint forms and instructions. If they deny the validity of your complaint, and they most likely will, send the original complaint and their rejection to the address at the bottom of the page for publication on this site.
|The Rules Of Judicial Conduct|
"I can state with certainty that if you go against the status
quo in Rhode Island and point out wrongdoing of the judiciary they
will ruin your legal practice and make it impossible for you to win
a case." -- Quoted by a well known lawyer who was discussing the
Rhode Island Judiciary with Caught.
"I went into marriage mediation because I could not count on the Rhode Island Judges following the law when I went into court." -- spoken by another Rhode Island lawyer
"Judges don't follow the law in Rhode Island every day...frankly it isn't news." -- Answer given by a Providence Journal reporter to an aggrieved Citizen trying to get publicity for judicial misconduct.
The Commission's myopic view of judicial misconduct
To their credit, the commission has removed Chief Justice Thomas Fay, Justice Antonio Almeida and Justice John Fuyat but most of the credit for that has to go to the media for making the issues so public the Commission had no choice but to act. The common denominator in all 3 removals was misconduct involving money.
The Commission has shown time and again that the following are NOT considered violations of the Canons of judicial conduct:
- Judges not following the law
- Judges denying Constitutional rights
- Judges issuing "boilerplate" decisions
- Judges not showing up for work
- Judges lying
- Judges ignoring flagrant abuses of prosecutorial discretion
- Judges being inefficient, incompetent or in other ways deficient
- Judges having an inordinate amount of back room dealings
- Judges having Ex Parte communications under various disguises
- Judges showing intemperance affecting hearings
- Judges treating the poor or Pro se's with callous disregard
- Judges acting outrageously and unjustly AND..
..all the other Canons which are to regulate judicial conduct appear irrelevant and unimportant to the Commission.
Note, the Supreme Court Disciplinary Board [for lawyers] appears to have the same myopic view of misconduct.
The Commissions warped handling of complaints
See editorial by Stephanie Riveria and decide if handling of complaints against Judges is appropriate for Judges who give themselves absolute judicial immunity. This commission has a mantra regarding complaints against judges which is, "we see no evidence of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct or Canons of Judicial Ethics."
The Commission says Judges ignoring abuse of prosecutorial discretion and bias during hearings is no evidence of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct
The Commission says Judges not following the law is no evidence of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct
Read the Garganta Complaint if you thought a Judge had to follow the law. [Writ of Certiorari and appeals on same issues denied.] Also see the complaint by Citizen Edmund Brown. So where is the "discipline?"
The Commission is challenged to investigate and properly act regarding traffic court wrongdoing:
Will the Commission respond appropriately to Myrth York's Challenge or the challenge from Arlene Violet and Operation Clean Government? As of 3-8-99 the commission "sees no wrongdoing" on the part of all but 2 judges. Eventually Judge Pallozzi received a private reprimand which is a joke by any reasonable standard of conduct, ethics or morals. Note this from the OCG site:
"The RI Commission on Judicial Tenure and discipline can't find fault with traffic court Judge John Lallo, but US Attorney Margaret Curran can. It is time to enact legislation to reform this incestuous do nothing commission which has stretched out its investigation of complaints of judicial misconduct against this judge. Operation Clean Government filed a complaint in February 1998 against 6 of the traffic court judges. Four complaints were dismissed, one received a private reprimand, but two years later there has been no resolution of the Judge Lallo complaint. Judge Lallo's alleged offenses violate the public trust in the states judicial system and merit at least some response from the mute Commission of Judicial Tenure and Discipline," said OCG's Chairman Robert Arruda."
The Commission sees nothing wrong with a Judge being involved in witness tampering, being vindictive and suborning perjury.
Can you imagine a trial where the Judge tells one witness what to say and stops another witness from admitting perjury on the stand? Read Danny Brown's complaint and the Commission's response. In the Brown case, the commission also states there "is no evidence of violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct or Canons of Judicial Ethics" by Judge Sheehan yet the RI Supreme court said Judge Sheehan was vindictive and barred Sheehan from sitting on any of Mr. Brown's cases.
Reform the Commission? Don't bet on it!
Two senate bills, S2370 and S2371 have been introduced by Senator Marc Cote at the request of Operation Clean Government and Common Cause. These bills would reform the Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline. The first would reduce the 14 member CJTD panel, which currently is comprised of judges and attorneys, to 9 and require that 3 of these not be attorneys. The second bill requires that the commission's preliminary investigation of complaints be completed within 60 days or go to a public hearing. "It is not surprising that this reform legislation has not even been heard in the senate judiciary committee," said OCG Board Member William Clay. "Since there are three General Assembly members including the chairwoman of the senate judiciary on the CJTD panel, who could expect to upset the cozy relation between the legislature and the judiciary."
Practice Law With Serious Ethics And Misconduct Issues? YES!
See Magistrate Aurendina Veiga page for details.