Sunday, August 15, 2010

Editorial: Discipline Against Judge Exposes Flaws

Cocke County General Sessions Judge John Bell took his third disciplinary strike in June and was sent to the showers, but his bank account won't suffer.

A judicial ethics panel last month suspended Bell for 90 days with pay - essentially a three-month paid vacation - after his third violation.

The decision makes one wonder what it would take to actually remove a sitting judge, and a revelation during the proceeding that a previous action against Bell has been shielded from the public view exposed a flaw in the process.

Bell was convicted in June for mishandling a relatively simple lawsuit. The Court of the Judiciary could have removed him, but instead opted to keep him off the bench for 90 days.

Once the decision was made to suspend him, the panel could not keep Bell from receiving his salary during the hiatus. The state constitution doesn't allow the panel to take a judge's pay.

Taxpayers also will have to pay the salary for a special judge who will have to hear Bell's cases during the suspension.

Full Editorial and Source:
Discipline Against Judge Exposes Flaws


Anonymous said...

Sick system! If the Constitution doesn't allow taking a judge's pay, it also doesn't prohibit it!

Secrecy in judicial discipline must end! The public has a right to know who they're paying for what!

Connie said...

Suspended with pay -- what a rip off for the taxpayers.