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Our Results - 2009

July. 2009

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Landmark Constitutional Ruling Vindicating Independence of Judiciary

Julie Green and Howard Cooper obtained a complete affirmance from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit of a 2008 trial court victory in a case brought on behalf of Judge Leon A. Kendall of the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands against the judicial conduct commission of the Virgin Islands, called the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

Based upon complaints filed by, among others, Washington DC based Judicial Watch, the Commission had sought to remove Judge Kendall from the bench on the basis of criticisms of his bail and sentencing decisions in specific cases, none of which had ever been appealed and each of which was soundly within his legal discretion.  Todd & Weld filed suit on behalf of Judge Kendall in federal court challenging the removal proceedings as unconstitutional on separation of powers grounds as an illegal encroachment by the legislative and executive branches of government on the inherent right of the judicial branch of government to monitor and review judicial conduct.  Following trial in December 2007, the federal district court on January 16, 2008 awarded judgment to Judge Kendall, held the Commission lacked authority to remove members of the judiciary, and permanently enjoined the Commission from proceeding against Judge Kendall.  The Commission then appealed to the federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which affirmed the district court's judgment on July 13, 2009.

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