I am appalled by the article which appeared on
the Sept. 5 front page of your paper entitled: "Flournoy case
prompts reform bid -- Verkamp wants 'kangaroo court'
The process of evaluating judges should be "reformed," but
not as Judge Verkamp desires. Instead, such reform should bind
our judges, elected or appointed, to even higher standards.
Such evaluations should not, and must not be court situations
as Verkamp suggests. This is not to say that Flournoy, and
other suspect judges are to be denied counsel. As I understand
it, Flournoy had at least six lawyers working on his behalf in
the case that has prompted Verkamp to suggest "reform."
A commission of oversight is essential in protecting the
rights of those who find themselves in court where the whims
of a judge can, and have created true "kangaroo courts."
The Commission on Judicial Conduct is not a kangaroo court,
or even a court -- it is an agency of oversight established to
protect public interest against judges who garner too much
power, and abuse their position. To change it in the way that
Judge Verkamp proposes would severely curtail its ability to
rein in runaway judges such as Flournoy.
No. Judges must be held to higher standards, for they hold
in their trust matters of life and death in criminal cases,
and the ability to impoverish in civil cases.
Judges must submit to closer scrutiny just as police
officers and other public employees do when they acquiesce to
random drug testing, and other intrusive investigations into
their public, and private lives. Accordingly, the public and
personal lives of all judges, elected or appointed, must be in
compliance with the law that they on the bench espouse. And
their decisions and activities in court must be subject to
un-hindered oversight by a commission such as the Arizona
Commission on Judicial Conduct.
What the Commission charged Flournoy with is only the tip
of the iceberg, and should the Commission look deeper into the
records of his court they will most certainly find even more
I applaud the Commission in its efforts. If any "reform" is
to be done, the Arizona Legislature should expand the
Commission on Judicial Conduct's investigative powers over
incompetent, and especially power hungry judges who consider
thselves to be above the law.