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Judicial Health and Safety Hon. M. Margaret McKeown United States Circuit Judge.

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Presentation on theme: "Judicial Health and Safety Hon. M. Margaret McKeown United States Circuit Judge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Judicial Health and Safety Hon. M. Margaret McKeown United States Circuit Judge

2 Judicial Security In the Courthouse

3 Judicial Security Personal / Home Is your home your castle? Balancing personal and public responsibilities

4 High Profile Incidents Murders of a Chicago federal judge’s family members at home Killings of a judge, state court reporter, and sheriff’s deputy in Atlanta court Plot in high tech case to pay $25,000 for a “hit” on a California judge Bombing at the San Diego Federal Courthouse Killing of chief federal judge in Arizona

5 Editorial January 12, 2010 “Judges and prosecutors regularly deal with disappointed parties in civil lawsuits and hardened criminals. The government needs to do a better job of protecting them.”

6 Threats to Judges More Than Doubled (2004-2010)

7 Judicial Security Internet Challenges Personal and financial details in public filings and on internet Online profiles of judges and their family members Online threats / anonymity

8 Judicial Wellness Who needs it? Mental Health Depression Aging Alcohol Abuse Prescription Drugs Stress Sleep Fatigue Fitness Relationships

9 Fast Facts More than 15% of lawyers (including judges) suffer from substance abuse problems Prescription drug abuse is most common problem Programs to assist impaired legal professionals have tripled during the past 20 years

10 Occupational Hazards of Judging Isolation Self-doubt / Self-worth Pressure of decisions Pressure of Workload Balancing family / Personal life

11 Stress on the Bench Fatigue and sleep disorders Personality disorders Poor job performance Medical health problems Substance abuse problems Financial sacrifices Media / political scrutiny Courtroom behavior: public perception

12 Special Challenges: Aging & Disability Average age of active federal judges: 59.3 U.S. Federal Courts depend heavily on senior judges older than 65--would be retired in most industries / government positions Advantages of aging: Judgment Judicial experience Life experience Issues associated with aging: Decreased efficiency and productivity Increased forgetfulness Declining physical / mental health

13 Judicial Wellness Ninth Circuit Program Judicial Wellness Committee Trainings for Chief Judges Pre-retirement program Publications Courting Good Health Newsletter Wellness Website Wellness Issues: A Guide for Chief Judges Aging Podcast Series

14 Judicial Wellness Committee Resources on: Diet Fitness Aging Retirement Well Being Peer Support Relationships Mental Health Compulsive Behaviors

15 Telephone Hotline Private Assistance Line Service (PALS) Confidential 24/7 hotline for judges, families, and staff Staffed by mental health professionals and counselors Often used by those seeking to approach others in need

16 Judicial Conference of the U.S. Recommendation (March 2011) “Request and encourage circuit judicial councils to consider establishing ‘judicial wellness’ committees that would be charged with... (1) promoting health and wellness among judges... and (2) providing information to judges on judicial retirement issues.” “The Ninth Circuit’s Judicial Wellness Committee is a standing committee that has developed such programs.... [T]he Wellness Committee has examined ways to assist judges whose health or wellness is compromised to take measures to mitigate the problem, seek appropriate help as necessary, and engage in an honest self-assessment of their ability to continue performing judicial duties.”


18 Church House Conference Centre London

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