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Experts: Substitute Judges In Need Of Vetting

Publication Date: 
April 25, 2011
Brad Zinn and David Ress

Professor Deborah L. Rhode was quoted in on whether there should be a standard vetting process for picking susbstitute judges, after a Central Valley judge was found to have had a federal lien for nearly $30,000 hanging over him.

There's no formal process for picking substitute judges and no standard vetting process to look for problems like the federal tax lien against a Staunton area substitute, legal experts say.

The position — which pays $200 a day, a cut for many lawyers — is vital in places like the central Valley, which once again missed out this year when the General Assembly parceled out funds to fill district court vacancies.


"All judges should be vetted, so this would seem an appropriate area for reform. A tax lien should be a red flag," said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor and director of Stanford Law School's Center on the Legal Profession.

"Most courts would be concerned that someone who has violated the law not be in a position to pass judgment on others accused of doing so," she added.