- Support For Proposed Amendments to Canon 3B(9)
and Commentary of the Code of Judicial Ethics
The petition is currently closed. Thank you everyone for your support.
Hon. Richard Fybel
Chair of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics
California Court of Appeal
601 West Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Re: Proposed Amendments to Canon 3B(9) and Commentary of the Code of Judicial Ethics
Dear Justice Fybel,
I support the proposed amendments to Canon 3B(9) and Commentary of the Code of Judicial Ethics. The proposed amendments are vitally needed to help preserve public confidence in the judiciary and to ensure basic fairness in judicial elections.
For judges facing recall or a contested election, the ability to respond to false and biased information concerning an unpopular decision simply restores a level playing field in a situation where dissatisfied litigants can say or post anything about a given case, regardless of the truth. The proposed amendments would allow a targeted judge to respond directly, and just as importantly, would also permit other judicial officers to respond to unfair criticism of a colleague.
The recall of Judge Persky from Santa Clara County is just one example of the pernicious effects of holding a judge mute in the face of repeated and widespread attacks on a single lawful decision. Judges facing unfair criticism in recalls or election challenges is becoming more prevalent. And the trend is likely to continue, particularly with the proliferation of social media. Indeed, the inability of a judge to respond directly to the criticism can and often does create the perfect storm in the echo chamber of social media. These proposed amendments begin to address the inequity of a contested election or recall where criticism focuses on a single unpopular decision which is not yet final.
The 2020 judicial election season is already well underway. The proposed effective date of the Canon amendments is April 1st, 2020, which will be after the primary elections which will decide many, but not all of the 2020 judicial elections. Presumably, if the amendments are approved, the November elections will be measurably fairer for targeted judges and allow the public to make informed decisions.
I applaud the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Ethics for putting forth these proposed amendments for comments and support the proposed amendments as written.
Yours very truly,