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Whistleblower’s! Know Your Rights!

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More transparency is needed to adequately judge the judges

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:Sending off brief, impersonal form letters offering no explanation for the CJP’s decisions, holding private meetings and closing off information access certainly does not inspire public trust and leaves the average citizen wondering why the need for secrecy, more characteristic of authoritarian regimes.”
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The California Commission on Judicial Performance is the state’s judicial watchdog agency. Based in San Francisco, the commission is made up of judges, lawyers and members of the public. They are the judges of the judges, the sole public agents charged with investigating magistrates accused of judicial misconduct. Yet the commission’s deliberations are conducted completely under the radar, with no public scrutiny.
dd395-Judge%20(site)The CJP meets about seven times per year and receives its authority from Article 6, Section 18 of the California Constitution. The current chair is Erica Yew, a Superior Court judge.The commission’s task is to provide oversight and accountability over California’s 1,825 judges. The CJP handles complaints (primarily from litigants) regarding judicial misconduct, bias and abuses of power. Last year, the CJP received 1,212 such complaints against judges, court commissioners and referees. It chose not to take action on 1,039 complaints of those submitted last year. That’s less than 9 percent of complaints that it acts on.

It’s understandable the CJP would not take action on many of the complaints that it receives. In numerous cases, although the litigants are clearly not happy with the judges’ decisions, not enough evidence points to judicial misconduct.

In other cases, the judge made legal errors. In most situations, legal error is not misconduct unless it involves “bad faith, bias, abuse of authority, disregard for fundamental rights, intentional disregard of the law or any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duty” as established in the California Supreme Court’s 1999 ruling in the Oberholzer v. CJP case.

Unfortunately, the only option for cases involving legal error is to appeal the trial court’s ruling. Appeals are expensive and enormously time-consuming.

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