Rule 2.15 - Responding To Judicial And Lawyer Misconduct

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(A) A judge having knowledge that another judge has committed a violation of this Code that raises a substantial question regarding the judge’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a judge in other respects shall inform the appropriate authority.

(B) A judge having knowledge that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question regarding the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate authority.

(C) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that another judge has committed a violation of this Code shall take appropriate action.

(D) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct shall take appropriate action.

Comment Text: 

COMMENT

[1] Taking action to address known misconduct is a judge’s obligation. Paragraphs (A) and (B) impose an obligation on the judge to report to the appropriate disciplinary authority the known misconduct of another judge or a lawyer that raises a substantial question regarding the honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness of that judge or lawyer. Ignoring or denying known misconduct among one’s judicial colleagues or members of the legal profession undermines a judge’s responsibility to participate in efforts to ensure public respect for the justice system. This Rule limits the reporting obligation to those offenses that an independent judiciary must vigorously endeavor to prevent.
[2] A judge who does not have actual knowledge that another judge or a lawyer may have committed misconduct, but receives information indicating a substantial likelihood of such misconduct, is required to take appropriate action under paragraphs (C) and (D). Appropriate action may include, but is not limited to, communicating directly with the judge who may have violated this Code, communicating with a supervising judge, or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body. Similarly, actions to be taken in response to information indicating that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct may include but are not limited to communicating directly with the lawyer who may have committed the violation, or reporting the suspected violation to the appropriate authority or other agency or body.
[3A] This rule shall not apply to a Judge who is a member of the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Committee (the "Committee") of the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) or a volunteer serving pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules of JLAP regarding information received in his or her capacity as a Committee member or volunteer. However, the "duty to report" outlined in Rule 2.15 above is reinstated if, in good faith, the JLAP committee member or volunteer has: reason to believe that an attorney or judge participating in the JLAP program is failing to cooperate with said program; is engaged in criminal behavior or the threat thereof; or, is otherwise in violation of Rule 2.15 which is beyond or succeeds the behavior upon which the judge's participation in JLAP was initially based.

Associated Court Rules: 
Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct
Group Title: 
CANON 2