Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In the News 10-03-06

As we consider options for bringing judicial discretion under more political control (for good or ill), one idea we've avoided has been judicial performance reviews. This Denver Post article tells us that they've come up in CO as a possible means of short-circuiting public displeasure with the courts, most obviously expressed in many states this year through initiatives that would curtail judges. It's definitely an alternative to guidelines and other past efforts. The article's not great in describing what would happen, but does some, and gets into the politics pretty well. . . . Speaking of judges and politics, this Seattle Post-Intelligencer piece talks about consideration in WA to move to public financing of judicial elections to get away from the contribution v. ethics issue that several states are now facing. The gov's apparently thinking about signing on, so that might give it some weight, even if she only won by 2 votes or something last time. . . . And the issue of judicial competency comes up a little in this story on the effort in CA to re-approve bills that got vetoed before on reducing the number of false convictions in the state. Among the requirements would be videotaped confession sessions and guidelines for eyewitness evidence. . . . And in NV, a report by the state Division of Internal Audits has warned that understaffing the state's prison system has caused higher risks for staff, public, and inmates. Imagine.

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