Families, children, veterans, seniors and really most citizens become vulnerable at one time or another, some becoming damaged by misconduct and forced into litigation.
Does Judicial Oversight really Matter?
Many need access to our courts to find justice but are unable to get the help needed as they either don’t have the financial resources or physically and/or emotionally are unable to articulate what they need and why. But then when already damaged parties, including destabilized and fearful victims of crimes like family violence / domestic abuse, enter the courtroom to request protection and restitution only to face bias and/or lose all hope because the judge is friends with the offender’s attorney, the scene turns dark and sometimes lives are lost.
This dilemma is difficult enough without adding another layer of political control and mystery to what happens in and around our courts.
I’ve been following the debate over how our Judicial Qualifications Commission should function, if it should be done away with and remade, and which group of leaders should have control. My first concern is that you vote, and that you are informed before you vote.
Should you not have any visibility to help you comprehend the critical nature of this decision, please send a request through this website. The case studies and data exist to show how big the problems are statewide, and why we do need problem-solving and more resources poured into judicial oversight and accountability. We have an opportunity right now to change how the words politics and courts impact our lives and the lives of our children.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation has provided its opinion on this vote and several news media, such as the AJC, have provided detailed pieces on this topic, so please search on your own and read the differing opinions.
This article in the Valdosta Times is helpful, and is aligned with the First Amendment Foundation’s opinion that the Judicial Qualifications Commission, referred to as the JQC, should remain free from legislative control due to the relationships between politicians and judges in their hometown who will likely request favors. That’s just politics.
“In courtrooms across the state, people’s futures are decided and it is important just, fair and equitable decisions are made without political influence.”
But politics and public safety unfortunately do not go hand in hand, and sometimes laws and ethics rules are disregarded when money and power are up for grabs. This statement comes from years of working with advocates and studying court activity and case outcomes, and observing what happens after damages are done. Personally I experienced a fair judge and have never needed to file a complaint against a judge because of harm done from bias or any form of unethical conduct. What I’ve witnessed being done to innocent parties, parents trying to nurture and protect children, crime victims, etc., is something altogether different – – and quite unsettling to put it mildly.
It is urgent that we improve the Judicial Qualifications Commission and add investigators and enforcement power, not dismantle or obscure the oversight and action being taken in response to complaints.
Please get involved and use your voice on the November ballot in Georgia.