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Workers' Comp Judges

August 07, 1993

* "Maligned Judges Bear Reform Burden" (July 25) and other recent articles on workers' compensation judges do not recognize the vast majority of very hard working professional employees. If warranted, action should be taken after the completion of the current investigation regarding the personnel involved. Any applicable rules regarding conflict of interest, including the Judicial Canons of Ethics, should also be enforced. Yet, recognition needs to be afforded to the majority of judges who are working appropriately on very heavy caseloads.

Personally, I find the implication demeaning that the judges are not going to apply the law. The politics of changing the law is within the purview of the Legislature. The implementation and interpretation of the law rest with this court system. I will, as I have in the past, apply the law to the best of my ability.

While I appreciate the idea of continuing education, I do not believe it is appropriate to single out one specific group of judges. Education is an excellent tool for growth. It should be provided for all judges and legal professionals.

An independent judiciary is needed to mete out fair and impartial decisions. The injured worker, the carriers or the doctors in each respective case should all receive a fair decision after a case is submitted. This has been my aim for years.

There is a positive and innovative side of what this court is doing, such as: multiple file trials, law and motion calendars, and special lien calendars. Each is a new accommodation reflecting the different demands made on this system by current cases and the last reform legislation.

Hopefully, the bulk of the changes will improve a worthwhile system; however, a fair, impartial judiciary should remain in place to carry out the law for the benefit of all, not a select few. The new legislation will be carried out by the judges. It would be appreciated if recognition were given to the judges for what they do correctly each and every day. But I also understand this probably does not make a great news story.

ROBERT E. WELCH

Presiding Judge

Workers' Compensation Appeals Board

Pomona

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