2016 Updates To CJA Judges’ Ethical Code

California Judges Association pic

California Judges Association
Image: caljudges.org

A former judge with Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California, Paul Seeman possesses more than 30 years of experience as an attorney, court commissioner, and judge. As a judge, Paul Seeman was a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Juvenile Court Judges of California, a committee of the California Judges Association (CJA).

Founded in 1966, the CJA is a non-profit organization that strives to expand public understanding of judicial impartiality and its importance. The January 2016 Judicial Ethics Update offered a new overview of ethical questions spurred by recent occurrences.

In the area of disclosure and disqualification: judges sitting on the appellate division should recuse themselves if they have knowledge that a judgment could financially benefit a colleague.

Reporting responsibilities: Should a judge overhear a private conversation that accuses a party of lying, he or she is not required to report a crime. Under such circumstances, the judge has the same responsibility as a civilian.

Media commentary: In media interviews, judges may address the general issues of mentally ill defendants and the court system but may not discuss any specific cases.

Gifts and discounts: A judge may accept the presentation of a fruit basket from the professor of a class to which the judge was invited to speak. Such instances are examples of basic hospitality.

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