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23rd National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics

October 23-25, 2013 • Embassy Suites Chicago—Downtown/Lakefront

The 23rd National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics will provide a forum for judicial conduct commission members and staff, judges, judicial ethics advisory committees, and others to discuss professional standards for judges and current issues in judicial discipline. The College will begin Wednesday October 23 with registration (starting at 2:00) and a reception from 5:30 to 7:00. Thursday morning there will be a plenary session from 8:30 to 10, followed by five 90-minute break-out sessions ending at Friday noon. The topics for discussion are described below. AJS will apply for certification for continuing legal education credit for the College. The registration fee is $375. 

Click here for on-line registration.
Click here for a printable-registration form.
Click here for a College schedule. 

Click here for faculty biographies.

The State of Colorado Board of Continuing Legal & Judicial Education has accredited the College for 11 general credits and 7 ethics credits.  AJS has applied for accreditation with the Illinois Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board.  AJS is an accredited sponsor of MCLE in Missouri.  A certificate of attendance will be provided at registration.

Hotel Information

There are two Embassy Suites in Chicago; the College is at the Embassy Suites Chicago – Downtown/Lakefront at 511 N. Columbus Drive.  You can get from either airport to the hotel by taxi , shuttle (the hotel recommends GO Airport Express at, or public transportation (<$10 round-trip, you can learn more at

You must register for the College and reserve rooms at the hotel separately. National College room rates at the Embassy Suites Chicago–Downtown/Lakefront (+16.5% tax) are: Single rate $239, Double rate $249, Triple rate $259, Quad rate $279. Rates include complimentary guestroom internet access, cooked-to-order breakfast, and nightly manager’s reception for attendees staying at the hotel. Reservation cut-off is September 20, 2013 or when the College block is filled. If available, rooms may be booked at College rates for three days before and three days after the meeting.

To obtain the College rates, you must use the group code “AJS” when you make reservations at 800-HILTONS [800-445-8667] or click here.

The Embassy Suites Chicago—Downtown/Lakefront is located at 511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago.

Plenary Session

Best Practices in Judicial Ethics and Discipline
In this “crowd-sourced” session, participants will share their ideas about what policies and procedures supreme courts, judicial conduct commissions, and judicial ethics advisory committees can adopt that will provide judges the ethical guidance they need, ensure an effective, fair discipline system, and promote public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.  Moderator: Cynthia Gray, Director, Center for Judicial Ethics, American Judicature Society

Break-Out Sessions

Social Media and Judicial Ethics
One thing everyone agrees with is that judges should be extremely cautious about using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This program will review advisory opinions to consider what guidelines judges should follow to avoid becoming one of the increasing number of judges whose use of social media has made the headlines and led to discipline.  Moderators: Judge M. Sue Kurita, Judge, County Court at Law #6; Member, Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct • Justice Barry R. Schaller (retired), Connecticut Supreme Court, Chair, Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics; Judge Trial Referee, Connecticut Appellate Court

Off-Bench Conduct
Although the code of judicial conduct applies to all of a judge’s activities, not every personal shortcoming – adultery or bankruptcy, for example – necessarily becomes a discipline case. This session will debate what standards conduct commissions and advisory committees can use to focus on the off-bench conduct most likely to undermine public confidence in the judiciary.  Moderators: Raymond J. McKoski, Retired Judge, 19th Judicial Circuit Court; Member, Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee • Robert H. Tembeckjian, Administrator and Counsel, New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct

Pro Se Litigants and Judicial Ethics
What ethical duties do judges have when dealing with pro se litigants? Should the code of judicial conduct be modified to allow judges to give more assistance to pro se litigants? These issues and others raised by the increase of self-represented litigants appearing in courtrooms will be discussed in this session.  Moderators: Judge Joyce Williams Warren, 6th Judicial District, Little Rock; Member, Arkansas Commission on Judicial Discipline and Disability • Judge Keith Levy, District Court, Juneau; Member, Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct

Drawing the Line on Judicial Demeanor
This session will address how judicial conduct commissions can distinguish between a momentary lapse in judicial courtesy that can be dismissed and a lack of judicial temperament that requires discipline. Further, it will consider when and how commissions should impose conditions such as mentoring or counseling on a judge with a demeanor problem.  Moderators: Michael C. Martinez, LPC, LCPC, Contemporary Counselors and MCM Clinical, Chicago • Judith A. Olean, Former Rio Rancho, New Mexico Municipal Judge • Randall D. Roybal, Executive Director, New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission

Looking at case law and advisory opinions in the post- Caperton context, this session will apply the standard requiring disqualification “when a judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned” to various scenarios.  Moderators: Justice Martha Hill Jamison, 14th Court of Appeals, Houston, Texas; President-Elect, American Judicature Society • Judge Edward C. Moss, 17th Judicial District, Brighton, Colorado; Member, American Judicature Society National Advisory Council

Determining the Appropriate Sanction
Examining recent judicial discipline cases, this session will review the criteria for imposing sanctions and discuss issues such as the relevance of a judge’s failure to express remorse and when removal is appropriate. Participants will “vote” on what sanctions they would have imposed in actual judicial discipline cases.  Moderators: Steven Scheckman, Schiff, Scheckman & White LLP; General Counsel, Ethics Review Board of the City of New Orleans • Judge John P. Erlick, King County Superior Court; Member, Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct

Judicial Discipline and Notorious Cases
Do judicial conduct commissions sometimes not go far enough in responding to complaints and let serious misconduct slip through the “legal error” crack? Do commissions sometimes go too far and discourage judges from speaking out about problems in the courts?  How should commissions respond when a judge cries “witch hunt”?  This session will consider what lessons commissions can learn from the Pennsylvania “Kids for Cash” scandal, whistleblowers, the Keller case, and other infamous examples to balance judicial accountability and judicial independence.  Moderators:  James J. Alfini, Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law • Victoria B. Henley, Director-Chief Counsel, California Commission on Judicial Performance

The Role of Public Members
Participants will share their experiences as public members of judicial conduct commissions and discuss what impact their perspective has on deliberations, training, and the perception of the commissions by the public and judges.  Moderators:Colleen Concannon, Member, Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct • Ricardo Morales, Jr., Member, Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission

Introduction to the Canons for New Members of Judicial Conduct Commissions
This session will give new members of judicial conduct commissions an overview of the ethical standards they will be enforcing and focus on those provisions that result in the most judicial discipline cases.  Moderators: Judge Randall L. Cole, Presiding Circuit Judge for the 9th Judicial Circuit; Member, Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission • Adrienne Meiring, Counsel, Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

Click here for on-line registration.

Click here for a printable-registration form.