The Louisiana Supreme Court announced several substantive changes to its rules on Monday that will increase transparency and public access to judicial discipline proceedings while maintaining fairness, due process, and the orderly administration of justice.
According to a release from the court, these rules are a continuation of the court’s ongoing study and revision of judicial discipline rules, like the adoption last year of rules that relaxed confidentiality of complaints after a notice of hearing is filed or the complaint is closed.
These latest rule changes will be effective May 1.
The court said that it voted unanimously to make three major changes increasing transparency and public access to judicial discipline proceedings after extensive study, review, solicitation of comments, and further deliberations.
The first rule change will be for hearings on allegations of judicial misconduct that have been investigated, which had previously been closed to the public, will now be open. The record and result of the formal proceedings including counseling letters and deferred disciplinary agreements will also now be available to the public.
The second rule change applies to after a judge has received a non-public admonishment, which is a non-disciplinary disposition intended to counsel or warn the judge about his or her conduct. The court says that any subsequent admonishments within a judge’s term of office, which is ten years for appellate court judges and six years for district court and other judges,shall now be public.
The third rule change pertains to information that will be made available about confidential non-disciplinary dispositions on the Supreme Court’s website and in Supreme Court publications.
The full release announcing the rule changes, which may be easier to read, can be found below.
The full court order from the Louisiana Supreme Court can be found here.