People deserve to appear before fair, impartial, courteous and respectful judges.
If judges fail to meet those standards, they should be investigated and prosecuted by the Judicial Conduct Board and disciplined by the Court of Judicial Discipline. But judges should not be targeted because of the rulings they make.
Dissatisfaction with judicial decisions should be handled through the appellate process. We are troubled that the Pittsburgh police union seems to ignore this distinction in its new complaint procedure about magisterial district judges.
Problems regarding judges’ bias and demeanor should be raised with the county president judge or with the Judicial Conduct Board, especially if a pattern of such conduct is documented. But judges should not be targeted because police officers disagree with their decisions on the setting of bonds. And the promise that the Fraternal Order of Police will use the complaints when making its judicial endorsements undermines the ability of judges to act independently when deciding cases.
It is critical to ensure our judges adhere to the highest ethical standards. But seeking to affect judicial decisions by threats to report judges is directly contrary to the operation of our justice system.
~Shira Goodman & Lynn A. Marks
Judges & Justice