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Aug. 11, 2008
Supreme Court Releases Revised Proposed Rules on Conduct for Judges

The Supreme Court of Ohio today published proposed revisions to the Code of Judicial Conduct, which regulates the judicial and extrajudicial activities of judges.

The proposed revisions are based on recommendations from the 19-member Task Force on the Code of Judicial Conduct. Beginning in August 2007, the task force conducted a comprehensive review of the code and published draft rules for public comment. The task force then reviewed public comments on the rules it drafted, revised those rules and presented final recommendations for the Supreme Court’s review. The court published the revised rules today for a second public comment period that will extend until Oct. 17.

“This is the first comprehensive review of the Code since the late 1990s,” said Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer, who announced the formation of the Task Force in June 2007. “This review can only serve to enhance the professionalism of and improve public confidence in the impartiality, fairness and competence of the judiciary.”

The proposed rules are based on the substantive revisions to the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct that were adopted in February 2007 by the ABA’s House of Delegates. The court is expected to review the proposed rules later this year, making Ohio one of the first states to adopt changes based on the model code.

A sampling of some of the more significant revisions contained in the code include:

Unlike the Court’s adoption of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct in August 2006 (effective Feb. 1, 2007), which represented a wholesale rewrite of the rules governing the professional conduct of lawyers, the proposed Code of Judicial Conduct has been updated to reflect issues that have emerged during the last 10 to 15 years. As such, the proposed rules contain new provisions that outline the role of judges in facilitating settlements; offer clearer guidance for accepting and reporting gifts; and permit judges to engage in efforts to promote public trust and confidence in the courts.

Contact: Chris Davey or Bret Crow at 614.387.9250.