Practical Applications of Ethics Codes: Gifts Gifts Gifts – Court Employees Accepting Gratitude 1 of 18.

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    11-Jan-2016

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  • Practical Applicationsof Ethics Codes:

    Gifts Gifts Gifts Court Employees Accepting Gratitude1 of 18

  • Become familiar with ethics codes.

    Understand why ethics codes are important to us as court professionals.

    Determine how courts should deal with gifts of appreciation from regular customers.

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  • A fair and independent court system is essential to the administration of justice in a democratic society.

    Court professionals strive to:inspire public confidence and trust in our courts; andconvey impartiality, equality, fairness and integrity.

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  • Gifts Gifts Gifts

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  • National Association for Court ManagementsModel Code of Conduct for Court ProfessionalsNACM Model Code

    Canon 3.3 - Avoiding GiftsA court professional shall not solicit, accept, agree to accept, or dispense any gift, favor, or loan either for oneself or on behalf of another based upon any understanding, either explicit or implicit, that would influence an official action of the court.

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  • Isnt there a big difference between offering a gift as a thank you and presenting a gift expecting a return favor?

    Response #1 - Yes. Rachel Dexter (although she never even admitted to sending the chocolates) was simply thanking the court staff for their hard work. Unless the Dexter law firm overtly implied that it wanted some reciprocal action we need to take the chocolates at face value: the act of kindness it was obviously meant to be.

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  • Isnt there a big difference between offering a gift as a thank you and presenting a gift expecting a return favor?

    Response #2 - It is laughably nave to even think that the Dexter law firm sent an unacknowledged gift to the Court out of shear kindheartedness. Law firms are businesses and this law firm was sending the chocolates as a hedge against an undetermined future court problem staff might be able to help resolve.

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  • Is Owen Edwards, taking a courageous path in what he is doing or is he being too obsessive compulsive?

    Response #1 - Owen Edwards is taking the courageous path. There are many examples of gift giving getting out of hand even in courts. Lets face it, despite what she says, attorney Rachel Dexters firm expects something in return for their largess.

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  • Is Owen Edwards, taking a courageous path in what he is doing or is he being too obsessive compulsive?

    Response #2 - Elizabeths comment to Mr. Edwards is spot on. If the courts customers think the staff can be bought off by a box of chocolates then it is insulting. In addition if people really think that then no policy is going to alter that perception.

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  • Is it acceptable for Rachel Dexter to send a gift to the Court?

    Response #1 - The responsibility to prohibit gifts lies squarely on Owen Edwards. Rachel Dexters law firm is not required to live up to the Courts ethics code. The law firm is working from the principle of what make s good business sense.

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  • Is it acceptable for Rachel Dexter to send a gift to the Court?

    Response #2 - Law firms are a member of the broader justice community, and everyone has a shared responsibility for the integrity of the system. Owen Edwards needs to ensure the Court does accept gifts; the Dexter needs to stop tempting staff by sending gifts that could be interpreted poorly.

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  • Is Elizabeth appropriately supportive of Owen Edwards?

    Response #1 - No. Despite what she says, Elizabeth is only reacting to Mr. Edwards directives. Someone at Elizabeths level in a court needs to fully appreciate the underlying ethical implication of accepting gifts.

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  • Is Elizabeth appropriately supportive of Owen Edwards?

    Response #2 It doesnt matter if Elizabeth is appropriately supportive, she is supervising her staff according to Mr. Edwards directives. It is Elizabeth and the staffs behavior that counts, not what their motivation is behind the behavior.

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  • What can the court do in these situations?

    Response #1 - The court needs to keep reminding staff, through stories and news accounts of the unpleasant consequences of accepting gifts and potential bribes. There is no shortage of available accounts to drive the message home.

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  • Determine what your own answers are to the questions asked here.

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  • Its the integrity of the Judicial Branch

    Its more than just personnel rules

    Its not just right & wrong answersIts your job to make the code relevant

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  • Log onto the NACM Website Ethics Page:

    http://www.ncsconline.org/Nacmethics/

    Or the NACM Ethics Hotline:

    http://www.nacmnet.org/ethics/hotline.asp

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