November 20, 2015 by Adrienne Meiring
Dear Ms. Meiring,
With the holiday season approaching, Charity Y would like to know whether it is ethically permissible for our local judge to dress up like Santa Claus and pass out donated presents to the less fortunate kids in the community at our annual holiday party.
Virginia, Director of Charity Y
Ah, the holidays – ‘tis the [...]
July 14, 2015 by Adrienne Meiring
When a tea kettle whistles from mounting pressure, we all know to take the kettle off the burner or to turn down the heat. Yet, when a legal colleague shows obvious wear from stress and has difficulty performing job duties or repeatedly lashes out, we often pretend not to notice the “whistle of the [...]
June 26, 2014 by Adrienne Meiring
The Ethics of Judicial Campaigns: Part 2
One of the hottest topics these days in judicial elections is campaign speech. As judicial elections become more heated, so too does the campaign rhetoric. It is important to remember, however, that judicial elections are different than other elections.
Judicial candidates certainly maintain a first amendment right to express [...]
April 25, 2014 by Adrienne Meiring
The Ethics of Judicial Campaigns (part 1 of 2)
A whirlwind of activity, the pulse of adrenaline, and general excitement (and despair) loom in the air—it’s the change of season. Racing, you say? No, it’s judicial campaign season.
With the primary elections approaching, I have received an increasing number of questions about judicial elections [...]
August 16, 2013 by Adrienne Meiring
So now that I have your attention—no, I’m not talking about bribery or ticket fixing. Rather, the subject of this article is judicial pay arrangements which are based on some factor other than an annual fixed salary, e.g. paid per traffic ticket filed in or disposed of by the court.
While the purpose of such [...]
May 6, 2013 by Adrienne Meiring
Using Criminal Contempt Powers in an Ethical Manner
Adefendant spews forth a string of curses during his initial hearing. A cell phone goes off in a busy courtroom, but no one will take responsibility for the disruption. When submitting a check to pay her fine, a litigant writes an expletive (expressing how she feels [...]
September 17, 2012 by Adrienne Meiring
During economic hard times, the pressure can be immense for government officials, including judges, to find additional revenue sources to run government agencies. Judges often find themselves in the crossfire between addressing a city/county council’s concerns about budget shortfalls and maintaining the regular business of the court. Three alluring “solutions” sometimes proposed to [...]
May 2, 2012 by Adrienne Meiring
Nationwide, selection of appellate judges typically occurs in one of three ways: contested election, political appointment, or merit selection. The “Missouri Plan,” as merit selection is sometimes referred to, first emerged in 1940 when prominent Missouri citizens1 sought to change the way their judges were selected because of perceived abuses/weaknesses with the other [...]
May 2, 2012 by Adrienne Meiring
As the dwindling seconds of the clock ticked on the 1987 NCAA basketball championship game, Keith Smart launched Indiana onto the national stage by delivering a buzzer-beating two-pointer to defeat Syracuse and claim Indiana University a national title. But this was not the first time in March 1987 that the State of Indiana had [...]
October 31, 2011 by Adrienne Meiring
Some combinations inherently go together, like chocolate and peanut butter. Others initially sound like a good idea (e.g. chili mixed with jalapeno peppers) but later have regrettable after effects. Requiring a defendant to make a charitable contribution as a sentencing condition is a combination that falls into the latter category.
Proponents of this sentencing [...]