Mountaga Bah fought to save his home from foreclosure in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and lost. Now, he has the opportunity to reopen the case, due to a conflict of interest uncovered in a Center investigation. (Jared Angle)
Dear Reader, Imagine — in order to save your home from foreclosure, you must win a legal battle against the banking giant, Wells Fargo. You lose the case. Then you discover one of the deciding judges owned stock in the bank. Would that feel like justice to you?
This scenario is a reality for a Maryland resident, and is just one example of many conflicts of interests discovered in a recent Center investigation, Juris Imprudence.
We looked at the three most recent years of financial disclosures filed by 255 appellate court judges and discovered 24 cases where judges owned stock in a company with a case before them.
Your support creates real impact. When the Center notified the judges of our findings, 16 judges sent letters to the parties in all of the cases we discovered, admitting to the mistake. These letters are the first step in possibly reopening the cases and giving people a chance at a fair trial.
Federal appellate court judges are incredibly influential. They can strike down or uphold a president’s healthcare law, change how the Internet works and determine how universities admit students. Their decisions affect us all. That’s why I’m confident that you will donate to our 2014 Annual Fundand invest in our ability to hold these powerful figures accountable.
As a nonprofit newsroom, we depend on supporters like you. Investigations like this require huge investments of time and resources, meaning other news outlets ignore these stories. But not the Center — our reporting is rigorous, fiercely independent and made possible by your generosity.