On Thursday, March 16, 2023, the Carolina Journal reported that Democrat North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls appears to be actively ignoring and defying North Carolina’s Code of Judicial Conduct

Specifically, the legal community is concerned with the judge’s involvement with the task force’s advocacy efforts, particularly on alleged conflicts of interests and possible violations of North Carolina’s Code of Judicial Conduct wherein Judge Earl’s participation is against the rules that require the latter to recuse herself from certain high-profile cases or seek written consent from parties on both sides of these cases to continue.

The Task Force that is related to Justice Earls is the Taskforce for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC) where Justice Earls serves as the co-chair. This task force was created in the summer of the year 2020. The task force made 125 recommendations that amount to a liberal soft-on-crime wish list.

The three most high-profile North Carolina democrats have continued to push for the task force’s recommendations, which according to John Locke, a foundation expert on crime and the law, make it “harder to catch criminals, collect evidence, convict criminals and keep them behind bars.”

Justice Earls acknowledges in some parts of the report that her work on the task force can be a problem for the administration of justice.

Jeanette Doran, president, and general counsel for N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law stated, “Judges owe it to the people to avoid cases where they have an actual bias or are perceived to have a strong investment in the outcome.”

The president of N.C. Institute pointed to canon one of the code of judicial conduct, which states: “a judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing, and should personally observe, appropriate standards of conduct to ensure that the integrity and independence of the judiciary shall be preserved.” Doran added, “Justice Earls’ involvement in the task force addresses or deals with the same subjects she is considering as a justice. Some people, maybe many people, will see that as a problem because it casts doubt on the independence of the court.”

Moreover, Doran stated, “putting a sitting justice on that kind of project is just asking for trouble, the risk of bias or the appearance of bias is significant. The governor could have asked a retired justice if he wanted a judge’s perspective, but he tapped Earls for some reason.”

 

Source: The Carolina Journal