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Canon 3 Section 2

Judges shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out
of court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the
public, the legal profession, and litigants in the impartiality of
the judge and of the Judiciary
Confidence of all must be maintained and strengthened:

Judges must always act both in his public and private life
with dignity, honesty, competence, and independence. Such
actions result in enhanced credibility and moral ascendancy
to dispense justice fairly.

Judges must maintain, and improve, his or her good moral


character just like all the members of the Bar. When a
judge’s character dissipates, the Judicial institute is
adversely affected.

Judge’s must avoid even the slightest infraction of the law.


In Cabrera vs Pajares, the Supreme Court said:

“… the Judge is the visible representation of the law and


more importantly, of justice. From him, the people draw their
will and awareness to obey the law. They see in him an
intermediary of justice between two conflicting interests. Xxx
Thus, for the judge to return that regard, he must be the first
to abide by the law and weave an example for others to
follow.”

Respondent was dismissed for accepting a bribe.


Judges pay a high price for the honor bestowed upon
them.

One who occupies an exalted position in the administration of


justice, and literally has the power of life or death, liberty or
detention, and enjoyment of rights or deprivation of it, must
pay a high price for the honor bestowed upon him, for his
private as well as his official conduct must at all times be free
from the appearance of impropriety.

[Luque vs Kayanan]
Moral integrity; An indispensible virtue

Judges and Justices must not only be proficient in both


substantive and procedural aspects of the law, but more
importantly, they must possess the highest integrity, probity,
and unquestionable moral uprightness, both in their public
and private lives.

[Talens-Dabon vs Arceo]
Judges must be like Caesar’s wife:

Appearance is as important as reality in the performance


of judicial functions.

A judge has the duty not only to render a just and impartial
decision, but also render it in such a manner to be from
any suspicion to its fairness, impartiality, and the judge’s
integrity.

[Martinez vs Gironella]

“Like Caesar’s wife” is an expression that came from Caesar’s action


of divorcing his second wife, Pompeia, because she was linked
with Publius Clodius, a notoriously dissolute man, even if Caesar did
not believe such rumor.
Stability of Courts rests upon the approval of the people:

It is essential that the system for establishing and dispensing


justice be developed to a high point of efficiency and so
maintained that the public shall have absolute confidence in
the integrity and impartiality of its administration.
Behavior should inspire confidence in the Judge’s
impartiality.

In Cabreana vs Avelino, the Supreme Court held:

“The respondent Judge’s hitching a ride in the car of a party-


litigant in going to and from the place of the ocular inspection,
deserves the stern reprobation of this Court. Respondent
Judge ought to know that by riding in the car of defendant
therein, he openly exposed himself and the office he holds to
suspicion, thus, impairing the trust and faith of the people in
the administration of justice.

xxx… xxx… He should be temperate, patient, and impartial,


having always in mind that every litigant is entitled to “nothing
short of the cold neutrality of an independent, wholly-free,
disinterested and impartial tribunal.”
Judicial partiality is a ground for disciplinary action.

In Rallos vs Gako, Jr., the Supreme Court said:

“xxx… xxx… Well-known is the judicial norm that judges should


not only be impartial but should also appear impartial.
Jurisprudence repeatedly teaches that litigants are entitled to
nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. The
other elements of due process, like notice and hearing, would
become meaningless if the ultimate decision is rendered by a
partial or biased judge. Judges must not only render just,
correct, and impartial decisions, but must do so in a manner fre
of any suspicion as to their fairness, impartiality, and integrity..
A judge should inhibit himself in a case whenever
necessary to maintain the people’s faith on his
impartiality.

Caperton v. A. T. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868 (2009)

Justice Brent Benjamin of the Supreme Court of Appeals of


West Virginia refused to recuse himself from the appeal of the
$50 million jury verdict in this case, even though the CEO of
the lead defendant spent $3 million supporting his campaign
for a seat on the court--more than 60% of the total amount
spent to support Justice Benjamin's campaign-- while
preparing to appeal the verdict against his company. After
winning election to the court, Justice Benjamin cast the
deciding vote in the court's 3-2 decision overturning that
verdict.
Issue: Must a judge recuse himself in a case where a substantial
campaign contributor is a party?

The US Supreme Court held:

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," Shakespeare tells us, and
no less easily ought the judge in his robes sit: while a monarch
shoulders the weight of a kingdom, the judge shoulders that of the
entire judicial system. For this very reason, the Supreme Court has
deemed that judges must avoid not only bias and impropriety, but
even the mere appearance thereof. This case is about preserving the
court's image as the guardian of justice, blindly and impartially
administered. In this case, the Supreme Court will determine the
standards by which a judge must recuse him or herself in order to
avoid sullying not only the judge's personal reputation, but also the
integrity of the judgment and the image of the courts themselves.