Around New England

Rhode Island Legislative Leader Wants Judge Candidates’ Background Information Sealed

May 3, 2019

A bill introduced by the Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate would keep confidential the findings of background investigations into candidates for lifetime judicial appointments.

Rhode Island state Senator Michael McCaffrey likened judicial nominees to applicants for other state jobs, and he noted that the personnel records of other state employees are kept confidential.

“Asked whether the release of judicial background information in recent years has caused any problems the bill would remedy, McCaffrey said no specific cases come to mind,” The Providence Journal reported, adding:  “He didn’t directly answer whether any judges have complained to him about information getting out or asked him to stop it.”

The three main sponsors of the bill are lawyers.

The executive director of the state’s chapter of Common Cause criticized the measure (Rhode Island Senate Bill 834), noting that Rhode Island has had several scandals involving judges.

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