Professor Jim Moliterno recently returned from a very intense, two-week trip to Slovakia. Sponsored by the US Embassy-Bratislava, he has been working there for the past three years on judicial and prosecutor ethics reform. On this trip, he conducted three, one-day workshops for judges in Pezinok, Banska Bystrica and Kosice, travelling across the country from west to east. He explored with the judges fundamental concepts such as impartiality and independence, and also focused attention on a significant problem in the Slovak judiciary: media statements by judges regarding controversial cases.
In addition to the workshops, Professor Moliterno met with a team from the Prosecutor General’s Office (equivalent to the US Attorney General’s Office) to continue work on a draft code of conduct for prosecutors. When adopted, it will be the first of its kind in Slovakia. He also made presentations at two of the country’s law schools, one in Bratislava and the other in Kosice. Finally, he was able to participate in the fruits of his earlier work in Slovakia: he did a guest lecture for the first-ever lawyer ethics course offered at Comenius Law Faculty in Bratislava. One of his colleagues at the Embassy and one of his former students from a videoconference lawyer ethics course he conducted last year are the co-teachers of the new course. The hope is that many more of the law schools add lawyer ethics courses to their curricula.