Judging themselves

New Nevada judicial rules will require judges to police each others’ behavior.

Under the new rules, which will take effect Jan. 19, judges will be freed from earlier rules preventing them from responding to criticism of their actions. Now the judges will be able to reply publicly, as long as it does not involve commenting on current cases before them. They will also be able to attend political events when running for election or reelection.

Judges must report misconduct by another jurist or lawyer if there is “substantial likelihood” of a conduct violation. Judges must “take appropriate action” when they believe that a judge or a lawyer’s drug or alcohol use impairs “mental, emotional, or physical condition.”

The rules will not require judges to disqualify themselves from a case if a judicial discipline complaint is filed against her or him involving the case, presumably an effort to prevent litigants from using that technique to remove a judge.

The new rules can be read at www.nvbar.org/pdf/adkt427.pdf