Question of Ethics: A Conversation on Courts and Ethics – September 22, 2022, Episode

Brought to You in Cooperation with NACM

We are not stockbrokers or day traders, but in our role as court employees we learn a lot.  We know about patterns of litigation against businesses and against professionals in the community. We know about protection orders filed against real estate agents; we know about leaking basement litigation; we know about roofing contract litigation.  Many cases are sealed and confidential, but most are wide open and available to the public if it takes the time to do the research. Due to the nature of our jobs, we learn about inside information more frequently than the public.

Relevant Ethics Canon from the NACM Model Code of Conduct for Court Professionals

Canon 1 Avoiding Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All Activities

Canon 1.7 Assisting Litigants

A court professional is responsive to inquiries regarding standard court procedures but does not give legal advice unless required as part of one’s official position.

Canon 2 Performing the Duties of Position Impartially and Diligently

Canon 2.1 Independent Judgment

A court professional avoids relationships that would impair one’s impartiality and independent judgment.

A court professional is vigilant concerning conflicts of interest and ensures that outside interests are never so extensive or of such a nature as to impair one’s ability to perform court duties.

Canon 2.6 Legal Requirements

A court professional maintains the legally required confidentialities of the court, not disclosing confidential information to any unauthorized person, for any purpose.

Discussion Questions

  • What is the appropriate use of this information?
  • Have you ever applied information obtained at work to our personal lives?
  • Do you think it is appropriate for front line staff to share inside court information?
  • Are there some applications of inside information that are ethically okay?

Listen to the September 22, 2022, Episode of A Question of Ethics Conversation on your way to or from work. In your car or on the bus. 19 Minutes 42 Seconds

Watch the September 22, 2022, Episode of A Question of Ethics Conversation 21 Minutes 16 Seconds

Join the Conversation

Email us at ethics@nacmnet.org

Today’s Moderator

Karl Thoennes: Court Administrator for the Second Judicial Circuit, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Today’s Panel

Dawn Palermo: Judicial Administrator for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court in Harvey, Louisiana

Kent Pankey: Senior Planner for the Supreme Court of Virginia

Peter Kiefer: Retired Court Professional

Eric Silverberg: Court Administrator for the City Court in Tucson, Arizona

Episode Time Marker Sheet

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