NH DCYF Judicial Reporting: JCC-I

See NH's other JCC too!

Did the Judge in your case lie or do something else against the code of judicial ethics? Some important ones below are cited.

If he violated provisions of the code you can, and should, report his behavior to the Judicial Conduct Committee. Their WWW home page has links to some of their recent reports, but little useful information other than a report from a study committee the Supreme Court formed that concluded that JCC-I should be replaced by something similar (identical?) to JCC-II. The WWW site has no information on how to file a report or what happens as reports are processed. For more information contact the JCC-I at:

		Judicial Conduct Committee
		NH Supreme Court
		1 Noble Drive
		Concord, NH 03301

JCC-I Code of Judicial Conduct

JCC-I and JCC-II have slightly different Codes of Conduct. The differences are not material as far as DCYF cases go.

The following are excerpts from the old Code of Judicial Conduct, Supreme Court Rule 38. I will update the following when time permits. If you write your complaint to match particular actions with applicable sections of the code you can save the committee quite a bit of time in their review and formulation of charges.

Canon 1: A judge Should Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary

An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should himself observe, high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved. The provisions of this Code should be construed and applied to further that objective without any limitation upon the Supreme Court in the exercise of its power of general superintendence, whether constitutional, statutory or inherent, in areas not delineated in the Code.

Canon 2: A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All His Activities

  1. A judge should respect and comply with the law and should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

  2. A judge should not allow his family, social, or other relationships to influence his judicial conduct or judgment. He should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; nor should he convey or permit to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him. He should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.


Is the interest of DCYF considered a "private interest?" I can't imagine any other area of law where the judges in this state REGULARLY meet with one of the litigants in the courtroom to decide how the cases will be decided. I think in this case, DCYF MAY be considered a private interest. See the web page on meeting with judges. Also see the unanswered "Right to Know" to Judge Kelly, [letters of 9/9/99 and 9/19/99] BUT SEE: Canon 4.

Also the "Court Improvement Project" which is required by federal law. The judges got together with DCYF, CASA, legislators, and attorneys of their own choosing, met for almost two years, did not publicize when these meetings take place so there can be public input, and crank out a 2" thick "Draft Protocols Relative to Abuse and Neglect Cases and Permanency Planning in Cooperation with the Family Division and the Probate Court." A copy of this is available from the Administrative Office of the Courts, PO Box 389, Concord, 03302-0389. Do you think they maybe weren't interested in my input?

See: link to Right to Know to Judge Kelly re: Court Improvement Project 1/25/00. He never answered the letter, and never let me know when the committee was meeting. This violates the NH Right to Know law, as well as the constitutional provision of right to know.

Canon 3: A Judge Should Perform the Duties of His Office Impartially and Diligently

The judicial duties of a judge take precedence over all his other activities. His judicial duties include the duties of his office prescribed by law. In the performance of these duties, the following standards apply:

  1. Adjudicative Responsibilities
    1. A judge should be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it. He should be unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
    2. A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding or his lawyer, ful right to be heard according to the law. He should not permit private interviews, arguments or communications designed to influence his judicial action, where interests to be affected thereby are not represented before him, except in cases where provision is made by law for ex parte application.
    3. A judge should promptly dispose of the business of the court.

Canon 4. A Judge May Engage In Activities to Improve the Law, the Legal System, and the Administration of Justice.

A judge, subject to the proper performance of his or her judicial duties, may engage in the following quasi-judicial activities, if doing so does not cast doubt on the judge's capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before him or her.

. . .

A judge may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or governmental agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice. A judge may assist such an organization in raising funds and may participate in their management and investment, but should not personally participate in public fund raising activities. A judge may make recommendation to public and private fund-granting agencies on projects and programs concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.

Contact Paula Werme, Esq. or return to Law Practice home page.

Last updated 2002 Jan 6.