On November 19, 2021, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued an order adopting several revisions to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXIII, The Judiciary Commission. See LASC Order (dated Nov. 19, 2021). After a lengthy period of review and debate, the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously voted to make the following substantive changes to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXIII:
- First, judges who have been charged and convicted of a felony or lesser crime reflecting adversely on the judge’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as judge may now be required to repay the expense of appointing another judge to cover their dockets while they are suspended from performing judicial functions during the pendency of criminal and judicial discipline proceedings. See Rule XXIII, Section 22(c).
- Second, judges who retire or resign before the conclusion of public judicial discipline proceedings may now be required to repay the costs incurred in the Commission’s investigation and litigation of the matter. See Rule XXIII, Section 22(b).
- Third, in cases the Commission has determined should be expedited, including cases involving possible criminal conduct, the Commission is now required to issue an order to the hearing officer providing guidance regarding the expediting of the matter. See Rule XXIII, Section 4(e).
The rule changes become effective immediately.
In a November 22, 2021 press release, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Weimer explained the aims of the revisions are to increase public access to and transparency in proceedings before the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana:
The Justices of the Supreme Court and I agree that our system of justice requires accountability for wrongdoing and the fair and efficient resolution of court proceedings, and judges and judicial discipline proceedings are no exception. These changes ensure that judges who are convicted of crimes or who resign or retire in the late stages of judicial discipline proceedings, sometimes to avoid the imposition of public discipline by this Court, may be held accountable for the costs incurred as a result of their actions
and that such costs are not ultimately borne by the taxpayers of this State. Additionally, these changes will help ensure the efficient and expeditious resolution of the most important matters pending before the Commission.
See Louisiana Supreme Court Announces Amendments to Judicial Discipline Rules (dated Nov. 22, 2021).