Appeals Court Wisecrack About Judicial Ethics Is Disturbing
State Appeals Court judge Ralph Adam Fine has made headlines - - sample here - - suggesting that now-Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler's ethical lapses are "a blip" compared to other judges' transgressions.
A good analysis is here. And here, by Scot Ross.
If it's now an acceptable appellate court position that one party in a court case does not need to know that the presiding judge has a personal and financial interest in the outcome, then we're all in a lot of trouble.
Regardless of the hearing finding and eventual Supreme Court ruling on the ethics complaint against Ziegler, the state high court now needs to expand its definition of the case before it.
It should strongly reinforce basic rules and expectations of fairness before the bench by specifically rejecting Fine's remark.
Doesn't this law apply in Wisconsin:
(1) 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:...(c) the judge knows* that he or she, individually or as a fiduciary, or the judge’s spouse, parent or child wherever residing, or any other member of the judge’s family residing in the judge’s household*, has an economic interest* in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding or has any other more than de minimis* interest that could be substantially affected by the proceeding"
How can we possible trust the Wi Supreme Court if Ziegler is a member after that?
Can't some concerned citizens of Wisconsin apply to the U.S. Supeme Court to force Ziegler off the bench if the WI Supreme Court doesn't take care of the problem?
I have no sympathy for Judge Ziegler. She shouldn't have done things that she is so ashamed of she can't even discuss herself. Why would you trust her with other people's important issues if she is so careless she puts herself in a position she can be blackmailed whether or not she actually was paid off? If other words, a party with no involvement at all with the bank could have blackmailed her to gain advantage in another matter if they knew she was sitting on cases involving the bank her family was financially involved with? Didn't I read that involvement was multi dimensional and involved real estate rentals as well as the payments for her husband's service on the board?
We all have reason to be extremely concerned about our courts.
They didn't have to dig deeper into Zieglers injustices because they have her on what they exposed. Now we are seeing why judges think they can get away with such things.
My gut tells me this goes all the way to the top...and that our entire judicial system needs a major overhaul. We cannot go any longer thinking its just.
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