Investigating Judicial Complaints around World
DownUnder gave examples of unsatisfactory and illegal performance by familycaught “judges”, so I though that a brief international comparison would help to understand this issue:
California The Constitution authorizes the Commission to continue proceedings after a judge retires or resigns
UK Annual Report UK
USA seems to be proactively addressing these issues.
UK is moving forwards, under pressure from news media, rather than proactive Government moves.
NZ works by trying to hide the problem, rather than addressing it. We are saving up a huge backlog of cases, for when we start taking complaints seriously. Making errors, hiding them and eventually sorting them out is the most expensive and socially destructive way of addressing these issues.
Sacked judges could be named after Guardian FoI case
17 March 2009
By PA Mediapoint, Owen Amos
The Guardian has won a partial victory in its Freedom of Information battle to reveal the names of misbehaving judges.
Justice secretary Jack Straw announced today that judges who are sacked for misconduct are in future likely to be named.
But he said each case would be considered on a “case by case basis”.
Details of disciplinary action taken against members of the judiciary have in the past been kept secret.
Ministers are facing a legal challenge by The Guardian newspaper over their refusal to release details of historic cases.
From today, the Ministry of Justice will usually reveal the names of the coroners, magistrates and judges removed from their posts and the reasons for their dismissal.
Straw said: “We will continue to give consideration to the disclosure of relevant information in cases that have attracted a high degree of interest from the public and media.”
The announcement coincided with the end of the first day of an Information Tribunal hearing in London.
The Guardian is appealing a decision by the Ministry of Justice and the Information Commissioner to reject its FoI request for the names of judges sacked for misconduct.
Representing The Guardian, Geoffrey Robertson QC said: “It is our contention in a nutshell that there is overriding public interest in every act by the executive to discipline or dismiss a judicial officer.
“The principle of judicial independence is one of the proudest principles this country has developed and given to the world.
“It can only be safeguarded if such actions and the reason for them are made publicly available.”
He added: “The press have a vital watchdog function of communicating facts of great public importance to the public.
“Imagine the headline: ‘Cabinet minister sacks judges’. That’s news and that’s exactly what we are talking about.’
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.
In the financial year 2007/08, 21 members of the judiciary were removed from office after facing disciplinary action – up from 16 in 2006/07.
The Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC), which handles misconduct cases involving judges, said the cases involved two tribunal heads and 19 magistrates.
One was removed for “inappropriate behaviour or comments”, 15 for not fulfilling their judicial duty, one for misusing judicial status, one for motoring offences and three for criminal convictions.
A magistrate was removed from office for countersigning a passport application which involved stolen documents and a fake identity, the report revealed.
Another magistrate was dismissed because of “association with a sex offender”, the report said. The magistrate had “failed to inform the local bench of the situation even after being interviewed by the police”.
25 Signs You’re Hearing a Lie
Whether it’s your spouse, your boss, or your child, it’s possible to determine if that person is lying to you just by carefully watching for clues.
According to Sheri and Bob Stritof, authors of “Your Guide to Marriage” on About.com, there are specific verbal and nonverbal clues we all give when we tell a fib. While few people would exhibit all of these, it’s the rare person who can tell a lie and not exhibit some of them!
25 signs to tell if someone is lying to you:
1. Touching the chin or rubbing the brow
2. Crossed arms or legs
3. Playing with hair
4. A line of perspiration on the brow if it isn’t a warm day
5. Saying “no” several times
6. Continually denying accusations
7. Being extremely defensive
8. Providing more information and specifics than necessary
9. Inconsistencies in what is being shared
10. Body language and facial expressions don’t match what is being said such as saying “no,” but nodding the head up and down
12. Placing a barrier, such as a desk or chair, in front of self
13. Uncommon calmness
14. Unwillingness to touch spouse during conversation
15. Being hesitant
16. Slouching posture
17. Rigidity or fidgeting
18. Differing behaviors; not acting in a usual fashion
19. Unnatural or limited arm and hand movements
20. Partial shrug
21. Lack of finger pointing
22. Unusual voice fluctuations, word choice, sentence structure
23. Stalling the conversation by repetitive use of pauses and comments like “um” or “you know”
24. Lack of use of contractions; prefers emphasizing “not” when talking
25. Avoidance of eye contact, eyes glancing to the right, staring past you, or turning away from you while talking
The Stritofs note that it is quite possible to mistake nervousness or distraction for lying or for misreading or mislabeling your spouse’s behaviors.
What do you do if you think you’re being told a lie by someone who is close to you? Ask questions. Ask for clarification. Trust your gut.
[I apologise that I don’t know exactly where this item came from.]
I am sorry for rattling old skeletons.
The California website gives many examples of issues that judges have been disciplined for. In NZ, given that the discipline system isn’t really active, we might suspect that many similar examples would be happening in NZ, or it could easily be worse in NZ?
I have heard many people complaining about NZ judges. Initially I didn’t believe most of them, because their shoes weren’t as good as the judges shoes? On checking, some of the complaints didn’t stack up. However, as time went on, I was surprised at how many of the complaints did stack up. Also, on looking carefully and taking some informal advice from lawyers, I found several issues that the complainers hadn’t found themselves.
These issues do need to be sorted out. The longer we delay it, the more we damage our society.