An article in Law.com about the activities of the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) raises the question of "What's Behind the Flurry of Judicial Resignations in Georgia?"
Since April of 2008, at least 21 Georgia judges have been disciplined by the JQC or have resigned from their judgeships due to allegations of misconduct. JQC investigations are almost completely secret, and people who file a complaint with the JQC can be held in contempt of court for speaking publicly about the matter before the investigation is completed. Those judges who face serious disciplinary charges are given the opportunity to resign rather than face public charges, preserving confidentiality over the allegations against them - and most judges facing serious charges seem to be opting for the confidential quiet exit.
While some are praising the system as providing an efficient and cost-effective way of getting rid of problem judges, others complain that allowing judges to resign to avoid letting the public know what happened is a bad way to manage government. Others complain that the prohibition on speaking publicly about charges that have been brought against a Georgia judge constitutes an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech.
The article on Georgia's JQC is a must-read for anyone interested in holding judges accountable for their misconduct on the bench, whether it is in Georgia or any other location. To read the article, click here.How does the system work in your state? As an attorney, do you believe you have any real way to challenge judicial misconduct? Have you witnessed judges abusing the system without facing any consequences? Share your stories in the comments section below, or start a discussion thread in our new Forum.