LDS Judges Share International Experiences
Dedicated to promoting the rule of law in countries throughout the world, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Judges Section recounted their efforts in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Turkey at the 2010 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Leadership Conference at Aspen Grove on October 1, 2010.
Judge Stuart Waldrip and his wife were called as humanitarian missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bulgaria. As part of the mission, Judge Waldrip was called to assist the U.S. federal government in various legal issues with the Bulgarian federal government.
“In an unusual situation, we were handed over by the Church to the U.S. Departments of State and Justice,” Judge Waldrip explained. “It was the first time in the history of the Church that both the federal government and the Church had worked together on something like this. Both sides were nervous, so we did not wear tags and did not proselyte.”
During his service in Bulgaria, Judge Waldrip taught judges and lawyers about issues involving the rule of law, corruption and organized crime. He was able to conduct 10 ethics seminars for more than 800 judges.
Judge Denise Lindberg shared her experiences in Ukraine where she, after seeing the rampant corruption in the Ukrainian legal system, partnered with other great legal minds to create a non-profit organization committed to teaching and establishing the rule of law.
Because judges are paid so little by the Ukraine government and paid so much in bribes, Judge Lindberg knew there was little hope in persuading Ukrainian judges to adopt the rule of law.
“Very early in the process, we realized that it would not be particularly helpful to work with judges,” Judge Lindberg said. “We met with judges throughout Ukraine, but the message was not welcomed anywhere.”
Judge Lindberg and her associates decided to target law students by creating a curriculum on the rule of law. Their hope was that emerging lawyers would then enter their careers with respect for the rule of law. This year-long course is broken up into two-week installments so she and her fellow instructors can maintain their jobs in the U.S. while accomplishing their goals in Ukraine.
Judge Daniel Barker traveled to Turkey as part of a team of consultants, where the Turkish government asked them to help devise a plan for how to evaluate and promote judges.