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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit's Chief Judge asks lawyers to keep lookout for cranky judges

Lynne Marek of The National Law Journal reports today:

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, who presides over the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asked lawyers and judges to be on the look-out for aging, cranky, deteriorating judges who might need a call from the top judicial officer in the circuit.

"I urge all of you -- judges and lawyers alike -- to keep in mind that you are the chief judge's eyes and ears in dealing with any issues that may develop," Easterbrook told some 400 lawyers and judges attending a lunch at the 7th Circuit Bar Association's annual meeting this week in Chicago.

"Judges are not immune from the risks of aging. When a judge slows down, or becomes cranky, or shows signs of losing a step mentally, I need to know."

Easterbrook made the plea as he delivered the report on the state of the circuit at the meeting, noting that often "a simple intervention" can solve the problem. Anyone can make a complaint about judges under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 and chief judges of a federal appellate court have the authority to remove judges if necessary.

Easterbrook gave his listeners a variety of ways to report on federal judges who might not be keeping pace. Ring up Easterbrook himself, talk to the executive of the circuit, Collins Fitzpatrick, or, for those that are more wary and want a bit of anonymity, they can share their insights with the bar association, which will pass along the information to the chief judge.

"The more I know about how well the courts of this circuit are functioning, the better we can administer justice," Easterbrook said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 21, 2008 02:08 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions