New Tenn. court rules tighten restrictions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New Tenn. court rules tighten restrictions

(AP) - Revamped ethics rules for state judges are designed to increase public confidence in the judicial system. Critics say it could abridge the rights of judges.

The reworked Code of Judicial Conduct bars Tennessee judges from making political donations. It also tightens restrictions on when judges must step away from overseeing cases because of interest conflicts, according to The Tennessean.

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark said the new recusal rules should give litigants more confidence.

Vanderbilt University law professor Brian Fitzpatrick believes several provisions of the new code could infringe on judge's free speech rights. Fitzpatrick is troubled by a restriction on judges commenting on pending cases.

Some prosecutors said new recusal language could allow criminal defendants to bog down prosecution of the charges against them.

Information from: The Tennessean.

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