Washington Law Review


This Comment compares the appearance of fairness doctrine with the Washington State Code of Judicial Conduct and shows that abandoning the doctrine and substituting the Code and due process would not resolve the conflict between independence and accountability, but would further exacerbate it. Rather, the appearance of fairness doctrine, modified by the 1982 appearance of fairness statute, is a standard that accommodates the conflict inherent in any bias standard applied to elected and appointed officials. The legislative modifications, however, fall short of the need for a clearly defined doctrine that provides guidance and certainty for the decisionmakers and the courts. Further modification of the doctrine is needed. Therefore, this Comment proposes modification of the doctrine that includes a careful definition of the doctrine, identification of the proceedings to which it applies, and the inclusion of staff members among those held to a bias standard and ex parte rules when they participate in those proceedings.

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