Judges and lawyers who are currently addressing workers compensation criminal cases, about thirty of them, were sternly warned by the US Chief Justice. The courts, according to the Chief Justice, are not there for lawyers to play games with individual or public rights. Through this very unusual format, the judge asked that the lawyers and judges stop delaying justice.
He didn’t place blame on one single person. Because of the attorney general’s complaint that judges were making it hard to look into and then prosecute workers? compensation cases, the judge made his ruling. The judge’s remarks led to many, many comments by other lawyers regarding the attorney general’s statements.
The chief justice said the conference was designed to make sure justice was carried about speedily, and without error. After that, he continued, stating the important status and role in the judicial system that each judge and lawyer holds, and how they should accelerate the rate of completed workman’s compensation cases, getting them to trial more quickly and getting them finished faster.
During the conference itself, one lawyer wondered if the order was actually valid because it only bore one justice’s signature. It should have had three. The order, which also enacted a gag rule, was signed by just one justice. Publicly made comments, criticisms or allegations of wrong doing, made for the purpose of changing public opinion are subverting justice in these cases.
That type of offensive personality, in his eyes, was clearly in violation of their oaths of office, and he urged them to refrain. Should a lawyer have a complaint about another lawyer, the grievance committee, the court or the legal practice commission offers a place to air that. He instructed the judges to remember the fully mandate due process, but to also attempt to reach quick resolutions whenever it is possible. There were many questions that were asked from the attendees, but the chief justice made it apparent that this was neither the time or place for airing grievances about previous events. Those could be dealt with by the proper people at the proper time.
One attorney wanted to make sure the difference between media reporting and the public commenting by a prosecutor was clearly seen. His client had been indicted by a grand jury. The lawyer said our first amendment to the constitution gave the media the right to report, but the Canons of Ethics made public comments by the prosecution inexcusable. One lawyer, who represented the past administrator of a workers compensation division, said he had not violated the gag order, but rather taken legal steps to protect his client.
The counsel stated that he would not forfeit the rights of any of his clients just to be as difficult as possible. Another lawyer said that if he didn’t speak out, it may look like his client was guilty. There were also statements made by another lawyer claiming that there was a slowly rising rate of worker’s compensation case publicity. Another lawyer told about the problems his clients had to overcome simply because of the negative publicity.