On Friday, January 13, 2022, the Judicial Council of the Eighth Circuit denied the Petition for Review of an Order dismissing the complaint against an unnamed judge for alleged bias for certain officials to the detriment of the court and the citizens of the Judicial circuit.
The case is entitled “In the matter of John Doe” with case no. 08-22-90066.
The charges cited the Code of Conduct for US Judges Canon 1, Canon 2a, Canon 2b, and Canon 3a which state:
A Judge should uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
A Judge should respect and comply with the law and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
A Judge should not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
A Judge should perform the duties of the office fairly, impartially, and diligently.
The Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here.
On November 8. 2022, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the eighth Circuit dismissed a complaint against a US District Judge. The complainant alleges that the District Judge violated the Code of Conduct in the following manners: (1) By asking for a favorable jail location of the executive branch; (2)by denying the complainant’s request for “copies of all 145 letters that the district judge held up in open court and referred to in the court transcript” and labeling the letters as “protected.”; (3) by showing that he is “biased for the defendant to go to a prison that makes it easy to see the defendant’s family”; (4) by becoming “a character witness when he stated that the defendant was of outstanding character and; (5) by giving “a downward departure of 150%” to the defendant.
After reviewing the allegations of the complainant, the Chief Judge concluded to dismiss the cases because he didn’t see any violations of the Code of Conduct as alleged by the Complainant.
The filing states:
“Having reviewed the record, I conclude that no cognizable misconduct has occurred, and no judicial canon was violated. In fact, the Supreme Court has expressly recognized that “[a] sentencing court can recommend that the BOP place an offender in a particular facility or program.” 7apia v. United States, 564 U.S. 3 19, 331 (2011) (emphasis added) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 3582(a). As to the second allegation, no judicial canon was violated. The district judge acted in accordance with Local Rule 49.1 of the federal district in which the district judge sits. Rule 49.1(¢)X)E) specifies that “a presentence report or victim-impact statement” are documents that “must be filed under seal and must not be unsealed except by court order.” And Rule 49.1 provides that “letters, emails and similar materials submitted in connection with a sentencing hearing” “may be filed under seal without obtaining the court’s permission and will be unsealed when the judgment is entered.”
The filing continues:
“Third, the district judge did not violate a judicial canon in making its sentencing remarks. I have reviewed the sentencing transcript. See J.C.U.S. Rule I1b). The sentencing transcript shows that the district judge discussed “the Section 3553(a)” factors in imposing the defendant’s sentence.
Fourth, for the same aforementioned reason, the district judge did not violate a judicial canon by referencing character evidence in the record. Finally, the district judge did not violate a judicial canon in imposing the defendant’s sentence a downward variance from the United States Sentencing Guidelines. Having reviewed the sentencing transcript, I find no evidence of bias. Instead, the transcript reflects the district judge’s enumerated consideration of the factors.”
Unsatisfied with the dismissal of the case, the complainant filed a Petition for Review of the said Order to the Judicial Council hence this conclusion. However, the Review Panel voted to deny the Petition for Review on the same grounds as stated by the Chief Judge.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.