The disciplinary court for judges on Sunday convicted Judge Ronit Poznansky-Katz for her part in a Whatsapp text messaging affair.
The court convicted Poznansky-Katz as part of a plea bargain of a disciplinary offense of conduct in “a manner that is inappropriate for a judge in Israel,” and of a violation of the rules of ethics for judges.
“According to the facts admitted to by the judge, she and the representative for the prosecution in the proceeding conducted in her court exchanged various correspondences regarding the process, which should not have been held between the prosecution’s representative and the judge who oversees the proceeding.”
The plea settlement did not include the punishment imposed on Poznansky-Katz, whose sentence will be announced at a later time.
The judge who confided with the prosecution was not tried in criminal court and not impeached because, last February, the Ombudsman for Judges, Justice Eliezer Rivlin, ruled that Poznansky-Katz should be brought to disciplinary and not criminal prosecution.
The justice system rarely shows this kind of understanding, never mind mercy, to elected officials caught in a conflict of interest because elected officials represent thousands of voters while judges are picked by committees behind closed doors, so they are possibly worth more than rank and file humans.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) and Supreme Court President Esther Hayut could have fired the unethical judge on the spot, but preferred to allow a fellow judge decide her fate, to keep it in the family.
Poznansky-Katz and the prosecutor on behalf of the Israel Securities Authority, attorney Eran Shaham-Shavit, exchanged intimate notions which utterly subverted the judicial proceedings. In one text message, Shacham-Shavit updated the judge regarding the Securities Authority’s demands to extend the detention of the accused and instructed her on how to respond when said demand is raised in the courtroom:
“At least there’s nice news, that [accused] Or and Amikam will be released tomorrow, do look surprised,” he wrote to the judge, who texted back: “I am starting to work on an appropriate expression of total surprise.”
In a country where judges appoint one another, it only makes sense that they also discipline one another. And while doing that, they find time in their busy schedule to complain about the “violent” public uproar against them.