Saturday, November 7, 2015


One area we see this  a lot is among the senior appellate federal judges who are given the motion docket.  Many actually work from home and have a law clerk to rule on simple motions for the actual sitting judges in the case.  Family members know their father, grandfather - even the clerk - know the judge is not mentally competent - but everyone remains silent.

The Fifth Circuit faced this problem and failed to take action until it was too late.  Word was out and a lot of people raised Cain over the cover-up.  The courts are now forcing the issue among their own and cleaning up a mess they long ran cover for.


"Now 84, federal appellate court Judge William Canby made the difficult decision a few years ago to mostly stop hearing cases after a 30-year career. He was sharp and healthy, but didn't want to risk mental decline that would lead him to make mistakes, he said.

"It seemed to me if the goal is to work until you are no longer able, you will work a couple of years too long," he said."

.... .

"The circuit court holds regular seminars led by neurological experts to teach its chief judges about the signs of cognitive impairment. It has set up a hotline where court staff and judges can get advice about dealing with signs of senility in colleagues. It has also encouraged judges to undergo cognitive assessments and designate colleagues, friends or family who can intervene if concerns arise about their mental health"

Click for AP story

My hats off to Judge William Canby for being proactive and putting the law ahead of his personal desire to keep on working as a federal appellate judge. 

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