RHODE ISLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE
A Practice Manual, 4th Edition
© John E. MacDonald
A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials and others subject to the judge’s direction and control. During trials and hearings, a judge should act so that the judge’s attitude, manner or tone toward counsel or witnesses will not prevent the proper presentation of the cause or the ascertainment of the truth. A judge may properly intervene if the judge considers it necessary to clarify a point or expedite the proceedings.
R.I. CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Canon 3(B)(4).
A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where: (a) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding.
R.I. CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Canon 3(E)(1)(a).
In re Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline, 916 A.2d 746 (R.I. 2007). Judge violated Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct by prejudging case, depriving criminal defendant of the opportunity to consult with counsel before accepting a guilty plea, and implying that defendant would be penalized if he elected to speak to an attorney.
- Legal error alone is not judicial misconduct, but it may amount to ethical misconduct if it is “repeated, motivated by bad faith, accompanied by intemperate or abusive conduct, or irremediable by appeal” or when the error clearly and convincingly reflects “bias, abuse of authority, disregard for fundamental rights, intentional disregard of the law, or any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duty.” Id. at 754-55.
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