Two stories from the news bears commenting on today.One of the guiding principles of our court system is a fair trial , an unbiased judge , and a right to appeal. Those principles were addressed in two separate reports today.
First , a Nashville Circuit Court Judge has ruled in favor of a defendant in a medical malpractice case. The problem is that the judge sits on the board of the defendant. One of the major ethical rules is to avoid any appearance of impropriety.For example , a person on trial for a DUI in Nashville would not want the judge to be a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Secondly , three Iowa Supreme Court Judges were removed by voters after they ruled on the constitutionally of same sex marriages.We need an independent judiciary to decide tough cases. The founding fathers recognized that when the U.S. Supreme Court Justices and federal judges were given a lifetime appointment. The question raised in this story is will there be a chilling effect on judges to make the right call when public sentiment is otherwise. For example , a tough stance on crime equals going to jail rather than a shot at probation.
It will be interesting to watch the fall out from the Iowa elections as it deals with issues on the independence of the court.