Grunis decides Alshech will stay on as judge

Tel Aviv District Court vice president will receive a severe reprimand for amending court protocols.

Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Supreme Court)
Supreme Court Justice Asher Dan Grunis 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Supreme Court)
Supreme Court President Asher Dan Grunis said on Monday that Judge Varda Alshech will not be dismissed from her post for amending a court protocol, but will receive a severe reprimand.
The Bar Association filed a complaint against Alshech, who is the Tel Aviv District Court vice president, in 2011. The complaint came after a lawyer who had taken part in a hearing before the judge identified differences between the the minutes of the court hearing he received immediately after the session and another copy of the protocol he received several months later.
In a letter to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Grunis said Alshech could remain a judge and noted that Judiciary Ombudsman Eliezer Goldberg, a retired Supreme Court justice, had not recommended terminating Alshech’s tenure when he accepted the complaint against her.
Grunis wrote that a careful study of Goldberg’s report on Alshech showed that the amendments she made to the protocols reflected what had happened in the court hearing.
Therefore, he wrote, Alshech had not “faked” the protocols.
The judge would not be dismissed, but a “stern reprimand” would be recorded in her personal file, Grunis said, noting that in one of two formal discussions he had held with Alshech he warned her against carrying out similar actions in the future.
“There is no place to use my authority under the Basic Law: The Judiciary to recommend that the Judicial Selection Committee end Alshech’s tenure,” Grunis said. “I do not have authority to file a complaint to the Judges Disciplinary Court; however, in my opinion there is no reason to take such a step.”
Grunis added that Alshech had made “an important contribution to the development of bankruptcy laws.”
Bar Association chairman Effi Neve slammed Grunis’s move.
“Unfortunately, we cannot accept [Supreme Court] President Grunis’s decision. The facts, as laid out by the Judiciary Ombudsman, require that steps be taken toward a disciplinary proceeding at the very least,” Neve said, adding that Grunis should take Monday’s decision on Alshech into account should there be future complaints about the erosion of public confidence in the judicial system.