Madam Justice Lori Douglas will be publicly probed.

This week brings good news for law firms in Canada. Apparently they weathered the recession better than their U.S. counterparts.

The news for Canadian judges, or at least one high-profile jurist, is less good. Madam Justice A. Lori Douglas — the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures showing her engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and administering oral sex — will be subjected to a public inquiry.

Let’s take a look at the nudie pics procedural posture and possible consequences, shall we?

The case against Judge Douglas will now enter a new stage, explains CBC News:

Lori Douglas, an associate chief justice with the Court of Queen’s Bench (Family Division), has been under review by a panel of five judges, ordered by the Canadian Judicial Council in January.

The CJC announced Wednesday that following the review, it has been determined the matter may be serious enough to warrant Douglas’s removal from office.

The council said an independent lawyer will be selected to present all evidence in a fair manner and additional details about the inquiry will be released in the coming weeks.

This is effectively the third stage of the case against Judge Douglas. As set forth in the procedures of the Canadian Judicial Council:

Complaints received by the CJC are first reviewed by a member of the judicial conduct committee. The judge in question, as well as the judge’s chief justice, may be asked to comment on the allegations. If the complaint cannot be resolved at that stage, the file can be referred to a panel of three or five judges for further review.

After careful consideration, the panel may close the file with an expression of concern if warranted or may recommend that the judge pursue counselling or other remedial measures.

A panel can also conclude that the complaint may be serious enough to warrant a judge’s removal from office. In that case, the matter is sent to an inquiry committee to publicly investigate.

It would seem, then, that the charges against Madam Justice Douglas aren’t completely frivolous. If they were, presumably they would have been dismissed by either the individual committee member who reviewed them in the first instance, or by the five-judge panel.

So Judge Lori Douglas could end up getting disrobed. We’re not sure we want to see that.

UPDATE (7/7/11): One reader makes this very fair point, in the comments: “so she has sex with her husband (and no one else), he takes some private pictures of her, and without her knowledge the husband posts them on the internet and tries to get some other guy to have sex with her. other than marrying the wrong guy, i don’t see what she did wrong.”

Judge in sex harassment case to face inquiry [CBC News]
Canadian Law Firms Beat Out American Ones During Recession [WSJ Law Blog]


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