Judges Warned Against Supporting, Appearing At Political Meetings By: Yassah J. Wright

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The Resident Circuit Judge of Magibi County, who is currently assigned to the Criminal Court “E” at the Temple of Justice has told her colleagues not to appear at any political parties’ meetings.

Judge Mardea Tarr Chenoweth said a judge should not appear at political meetings and indicate support of candidates for political office nor should a judge permit his/her husband or wife to give political teas.

Judge Cheniweth stated that Article 77 through 84 of the Liberian Constitution confers on the Supreme Court of Liberia the power to review and finally determine electrical issues and disputes under the muti-party system.

She pointed out  such issues as protest against membership in political parties, denial of registration of political parties, election contests and appeals from violations of elections laws.

“It would be embarrassing to the Justice of the honorable Supreme Court of Liberia upon a review and determination of issues involving political parties if they are members of any,” Judge Cheniweth stressed.

The Presiding Judge of Criminal Court “E” noted that they expect that Judges and Magistrates will not attend meetings of any political party, nor wear any paraphernalia, such as t-shirts or caps belonging to political parties.

Judge Cheniweth said there are instances where Magistrates have resigned to contest for political positions and in some instances, they have won.

“If you are a Magistrate or a Judge and intent to run for any position this year or campaign for your friend or relative, the honorable thing is to resign” Judge Cheniweth noted.

She lamented that when the law says remain neutral, it also means that you do not openly or clandestinely lend support to any individual politician or political party.

Judge Cheniweth said they as Judges are the pillar of peace in Liberia, electoral disputes must be handled with care if they are to  move forward as a peaceful nation, taking cue from where they have come.

The Resident Circiut Judge of Magibi County further stated that when the people have confidence that disputes arising out of elections in the country will be timely and impartially heard by the courts of the lands, they will have no reason to turn to violence and even when provoked.

 “It is important that while a Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia is entitled to entertain his personal view of political matters, and while he is not required by the statute law to surrounded his rights as citizen, it would however be in his best interest and for the public good that upon his appointment to that honor even as a Judge, Magistrate or Justice of the peace, that he publicly resign his political affiliation, whatever political party of which he was a member prior to his elevation,” Judge Cheniweth noted.

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