Wednesday, August 9, 2006
State Bar Operations Committee Supports Mandatory Judicial Education
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Board of Governors Committee on Operations for the State Bar has taken an emergency action on behalf of the board to support continuing legal education requirements for judicial officers, State Bar President James Heiting said yesterday.
Heiting, who also chairs the operations committee, told the MetNews that the committee recently submitted a comment to the Judicial Council expressing support for the principle of judicial education.
“We discussed the ideal of continuing legal education, and whether we thought that continuing legal education was of benefit to lawyers and would be of benefit to judges and the judicial system,” Heiting said, “and came to the conclusion that it certainly couldn’t hurt and that probably our system could benefit from continuing legal education requirements.”
“We’re not by that making any comment on what those requirements should be, how extensive they should be, or how often they should be required but simply on the principle of continuing legal education being a good thing,” he added.
The committee’s action occurred on July 25 in an emergency conference call, held between its last meeting in June and the next regular committee and board meetings scheduled for August 18 and 19, respectively, a spokesperson said.
Having originally scheduled the conference call for another urgent matter, the committee later included the judicial education matter in its emergency agenda in order to meet an August 7 deadline for submitting comments on the judicial council’s mandatory continuing education proposal.
The committee, which oversees the board’s function by coordinating its work and addressing internal operational and legal issues, is authorized to take action on behalf of the board in rare emergency situations when it is impractical to convene a full board meeting.
Heiting said the topic of mandatory continuing education for judges was “controversial” and that not everyone on the committee was supportive.
In the recent history of the ongoing controversy, outside counsel for the California Judges Association issued a June 15 opinion stating that the Judicial Council’s mandatory training proposal may violate the state Constitution. Subsequently, Alameda Superior Court Judge Julie Conger and Justice Thomas E. Hollenhorst of the Fourth District Court of Appeal said they would resign from the California Judges Association ethics committee if the executive board would not oppose the proposal.
Heiting said that the Board of Governors’ position is simply one of the many comments the council has invited and will be taking into consideration.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company