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State Bar Commends Supreme Court For ‘Transparency’ In Making Public Aba Report & Recommendations To Improve Judicial Discipline

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Montgomery, Ala., April 22, 2009 – Alabama State Bar President J. Mark White of Birmingham (White Arnold & Dowd PC) issued a statement praising the Alabama Supreme Court for making public a report about the state's judicial discipline system.

The Alabama Supreme Court had invited the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professional Discipline to conduct a review of the judicial discipline process.

White commended the Supreme Court on its decision to share the report with the public. "The Court has demonstrated its openness in releasing the report for public consideration. This effort enhances the public's faith in our system of justice and those who sit in positions of judicial responsibility," he said.

The ABA has created Model Rules of Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement which are intended to be a resource to court systems in reviewing their existing judicial discipline systems and in drafting fair and efficient procedures for enforcement of the ethical codes if they choose to revise their present systems.

White said the state bar will accept the court's invitation to assist it in assuring that Alabama's judicial discipline is "second to none." He noted the Model Rules reflect a careful balance of a number of competing interests: the rights of judges to fair treatment in the disposition of complaints against them; the judges' interest in the confidentiality of complaints for which the commission finds there is not reasonable cause to believe that misconduct occurred;; the public's concern that complaints against judges are given serious consideration and that judges are held to high standards of behavior; and the interest of the judges and the public in having judicial disciplinary complaints resolved promptly and accurately.

The 16,000-member Alabama State Bar is dedicated to promoting the professional responsibility, competence and satisfaction of its members, improving the administration of justice and increasing public understanding and respect for the law.

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