A state legislative committee is considering changing the current system for disciplining judges who violate the judicial code of conduct.
The committee was created to address concerns raised by the 3-3 deadlock that occurred when the high court ruled on whether Justice Michael Gableman had violated the ethics code with a campaign ad during the race for his seat on the court.
At its first public hearing this week, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patrick Crooks told the committee it's up to the legislature to prevent that from happening again. He says a deadlock will likely happen again, and that the legislature should provide “some means of resolving a situation that is not finally resolved."
Crook's colleague, Justice Patience Roggensack, says there's no need for legislative fix because the system isn't broken. But she told the committee if they want to fix it there's an easy way to do it.
“All it would take would be a simple amendment of the statute saying if there is not a majority vote in favor of the position of the judicial commission that concludes the matter.”
But Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign asked the committee to consider ending the system that puts judges in the uncomfortable position of judging fellow judges. He says lawmakers should give consideration to a new model that would perhaps also include members of the general public as well as people from the legal community.
Before it makes any recommendations the committee will hold several public hearings to solicit more ideas about the need to change the current system for disciplining judges.
Wisconsin Lawmakers Consider Changes to Judge Discipline Rules