Appointments made to Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention
A Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention has been appointed to deal with allegations of ethical misconduct that may arise in judicial races this year.
Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Smith Jr. has appointed retired Supreme Court Justice Fred L. Banks Jr. to the special committee. Chief Justice Smith announced the appointment of former Justice Banks and four others in an order issued April 13.
The members of the committee are appointed by the Chief Justice, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chair of the Commission on Judicial Performance.
The other committee members are:
It is the second time that a special committee has been constituted. The five-member committee was established two years ago by the Mississippi Supreme Court in its April 4, 2002, revision of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 5F of the Code of Judicial Conduct says that the special committee is to be organized during each year in which an election is held for Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, chancery court, circuit court or county court judges.
The order signed by Chief Justice Smith explains that the special committee is organized "to deal expeditiously with allegations of ethical misconduct in campaigns for judicial office."
If the special committee finds evidence of some campaigning impropriety, it may issue a confidential cease-and-desist request to the candidate. The Code of Judicial Conduct includes language which states that if a cease-and-desist request is disregarded or if unethical or unfair campaign practices continue, the committee may issue a public statement about violations.
Former Justice Banks was the chairman of the Special Committee on Judicial Election Campaign Intervention during the 2002 judicial elections.