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Mr Lofton
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Experience:  30 years of experience as a counselor and trial lawyer
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Violating Code of Judicial Ethics Ramifications Judge ...

Customer Question

Violating Code of Judicial Ethics – Ramifications?

Judge hears eviction case.

Finds for eviction.

Evicted later moves to vacate decision due lack of subject mater jurisdiction.

In decision denying motion to vacate decision judge refers to a case not in evidence between the two parties as a basis to not hear defense arguments or evidence.

In addition there are certain facts that were not available during the proceedings that appear in the judgment. The only way to have found these facts is to have pulled up the pleadings in the above-mentioned case not in evidence or to have done other extraneous investigstion.

Form the Judicial Code of Ethics:

“A judge must not independently investigate facts in a case and must consider only the evidence presented.”

It appears that the judge used things outside the proceedings to make a decision.

If a decision in another case is not in evidence, can the judge hunt it down?

What are the options to appeal this decision/bri
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Mr Lofton replied 8 years ago.
The judge may not "investigate" facts, that is true. But a judge is permitted to look at a different legal ruling in a case where the facts were "similar" in order to decide what ruling the judge will make in in this case- that is just called "legal research" and is not a violation of the ethical standards.

The real question is whether there was, or was not, "subject matter jurisdiction" - if there was none, but the judge decided there was, then the judge';s decision can and should be appealed - if the appellate court agrees that there was no subject matter jurisdiction then the trial judge's decision is void and of no effect.

I would "appeal" the judge's ruling and not use my time an energy making a case that the judge acted improperly.

Now, concerning this "other case" - if you have now made yourself familiar with it and you think your judge did not apply the other case correctly to reach his/her decision, then you may file a motion for "reconsideration" in which you explain why you think the judge's decision is wrong notwithstanding the existence of this "other case".

All the best,
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
the referenced case was between the same two parties.

judge claimed it settled issues, but makes no reference to the decision(nothing quoted or pulled from referenced decision) in current decision.

it seems to me that legal research is for finding ways of handling similar cases.

And that using a decision between the two parties that was not put into evidence is wrong.

Expert:  Mr Lofton replied 8 years ago.

My thoughts are: The judge used the old case to decide that the same issues you want to litigate now have already been llitigated and decided in the older case. That is called "res adjudicata" meaning the thing has already been litigated. If that is what the judge was doing then I don't see a problem; but you can always appeal whatever you don't like, right?

Good luck

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
sort of...

the prior decision makes no determination regarding the eviction hearings.

and if its res judicata, the decision should say so. but it doesnt.

and the makes no tangible reference to the earlier decision, just that it exists.


if the prior case is not entered into evidence, can it be hunted down?
Expert:  Mr Lofton replied 8 years ago.

Then simply ask for the judge (or the judge's clerk) to give you the reference - this should be easy to find if it was referred to and relied upon by the judge.

If you can't get in informally, then file a formal motion requesting the judge to identify the other case for you.

Good luck,


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