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Professor testifies about impeachment of judge

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Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Charles G. Geyh appeared before the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday as a witness in its hearing on the possible impeachment of U.S. District Judge Thomas G. Porteous of New Orleans. This is the second time in less than a week the professor has appeared before the House.

In his testimony Tuesday, Geyh delivered his opinion on what he called "ethical concerns of the most extreme sort" by Judge Porteous. The judge is accused of accepting cash and other gifts from attorneys who appeared before his court. Judge Porteous also refused to recuse himself from a case where the defendant had a close relationship with the judge's friend.

Geyh testified Judge Porteous' conduct entailed a gross abuse of judicial power that showed a complete disregard for the core ethical qualities a judge should display.

"Having improperly solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer while he was representing a party in a case pending before him, the need for Judge Porteous to disqualify himself was even more plain, rendering his erroneous failure to withdraw more obviously willful," Geyh said. "It is utterly inconceivable that a reasonable person would not question the impartiality of a judge who solicited thousands of dollars from a lawyer in a pending matter."

Geyh was one of three national experts called to testify during Tuesday's hearing. He also testified regarding judicial disqualification before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Dec. 10.

If Judge Porteous is impeached by the House, it would be the first time in more than 20 years a federal judge was impeached. The U.S. Senate would then hold a trial to determine whether the judge should be removed.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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