supreme court 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Courts Ombudsman Supreme Court justice (ret.) Eliezer Goldberg, absolved the
heads of the court administration of any wrongdoing surrounding the February
suicide of Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court judge Maurice Benatar, on
The late judge wrote in a suicide note that one of the things
that drove him to kill himself was work-overload, and Goldberg was asked by
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and the head of the Courts Authority,
Judge Moshe Gal, to investigate whether he received adequate assistance and
support from his supervisors.
In his investigation, Goldberg met with
Benatar’s wife and children, his colleagues and friends as well as his
Goldberg wrote that all the people he spoke with had nothing
but good things to say about Benatar, describing his qualities both as a judge
and a man.
The report found that Benatar had allowed a caseload to build
up that he was incapable of completing. Goldberg wrote that Benatar’s
supervisors did all that could be expected of them to ease his work pressure,
relieving him of duties, offering him extended vacation time, suggesting that he
be transferred to a lower court while he caught up with outstanding assignments
and, near the end, proposing that he step down from the bench.
managerial failure that Goldberg’s report pointed to was the system’s failure to
be alerted in time to the number of open cases Benatar was working
“The true magnitude of late verdicts was discovered very late, after
he had compiled a large amount of open cases.
Under these circumstances,
try as he might, he was incapable of overcoming the deficit,” the report
Goldberg said that particular shortcoming had since been solved by
the introduction of a computer system that keeps track of all cases, something
that will prevent the buildup of open cases from going unnoticed.