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Federal judges approve measures to promote accountability

[JURIST] The Judicial Conference of the United States has approved policies requiring judges to disclose their sponsors when traveling to attend seminars, and to investigate financial conflicts of interest more closely. Under the first measure [PDF text], nongovernmental sources who pay for judges to attend seminars must disclose their patronage on the Judicial Branch website [official website] and judges must produce a follow-up report, to be filed on local court web sites. In addition, a new Mandatory Conflict Screening Policy [PDF text] will require judges to use special software to ensure that they are not assigned to cases in which they have a financial stake. The new policies will apply to all federal judges with the exception of US Supreme Court justices, who are not subject to any official oversight. AP has more.

Meanwhile a six-member panel charged by late Chief Justice William Rehnquist to investigate the handling of complaints about alleged judicial misconduct has reported revealed that judges mishandled complaints against their colleagues in thirty percent of high profile cases between 2000 and 2005. According to a report [PDF text; press release] submitted by US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer [LII profile], who chaired the panel, errors occurred in the handling of 5 of 17 complaints. In ordinary circumstances, however, the panel said complaints were handled adequately. Reuters has more.

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