Canons of Judicial Ethics
Ex parte W. Perry Hall, [Ms. 1180976, Nov. 6, 2020]. The Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Shaw and Sellers, JJ., concur in the result) dismisses a petition for a Writ of Mandamus brought by attorney W. Perry Hall requesting the Court to direct the Mobile Circuit Court, Judge James Patterson presiding, to vacate an order requiring Hall to issue a letter of apology to his clients. While the Court dismisses the petition as moot because the record revealed the circuit court had vacated its order, the Court uses the opinion to reiterate the mandates of Cannons 2.A., and 3.A.(3) of the Canons of Judicial Ethics:
…we emphasize that a judge is expected to maintain “the decorum and temperance befitting his office” and should be “patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom he deals in his official capacity.” Canon 2.B., Canon 3.A.(3), Canons of Judicial Ethics. This is because deference to the judgments and rules of courts depends on public confidence in the integrity and independence of judges. Canon 2.A., Canons of Judicial Ethics. “The Canons are not merely guidelines for proper judicial conduct” but have “the force and effect of law.” In re Sheffield, 465 So. 2d 350, 355 (Ala. 1984). We expect the circuit court to faithfully comply with the Canons at all times in its interaction with the litigants and attorneys who appear before it.