Judiciary officials expect judge to step down before she is dismissed
Senior judiciary officials say Judge Poznanski-Katz, who held problematic correspondence with Case 4000 prosecutor, should resign as she has lost moral high-ground; sources close to judge, however, tell Channel 2 News she had no intention of doing so.
A source close to Poznanski-Katz, however, said the judge had no intention of doing so.
The judiciary officials nevertheless maintained Poznanski-Katz cannot remain within the judicial system as she has lost her moral high-ground in the wake of the publication of texts between the arrests judge and Israel Securities Authority attorney Eran Shacham-Shavit before hearing on the remand extensions of suspects embroiled in the Bezeq corruption affair.
Should Judge Poznanski-Katz continue to refuse to step down, a dismissal process may be put in motion. The process allows for a judge to be ousted on the recommendation of the justice minister or Supreme Court chief justice and a vote by the Judicial Selection Committee, which must then vote in favor of dismissal with a seven-member majority.
According to a Guy Peleg report on Channel 2 News, however, the judge entertained no notions of resigning. The report quoted a high-ranking judiciary source close to Poznanski-Katz who said that, "The Courts Administration was a very demanding system that failed to provide judges with even the barest of conditions.
"The judge had no secretary and no paralegal. When she put in a request for a typist she was shouted at. She had to do all of the coordinating (for the hearings) from her private phone. She's been swarmed since yesterday, called in to the ombudsman on a moment's notice.
"She wasn't given time to prepare and the ombudsman was himself demanded to reach a decision at the drop of a dime."
Poznanski-Katz's friend then summarized by saying, "The justice minister had already announced she put in motion a dismissal process and that a date was being set for the Judicial Selection Committee to convene on dismissal. They're on an all-out attack directed at an exemplary, esteemed employee."
Poznanski-Katz was questioned by the ombudsman for two hours on Monday, insisting she did not coordinate positions with the prosecution and that her actions were not unethical.
Shacham-Shavit also insisted in his own disciplinary probe at the Civil Service Commission that "there was nothing wrong with the correspondence between myself and the judge. Both the judge and I disagreed with Lahav's positions and thought there was need to reduce the suspects' days in custody and differentiate between them."
"There was no coordination here. The correspondence was entirely innocent," he went on to say.
In anticipation of the ombudsman's conclusions
Ombudsman for Complaints, former justice Eliezer Rivlin, notified Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked Monday afternoon of his intention to complete collecting materials related to the inquiry into the conduct of Judge Poznanski-Katz within the day.
Rivlin will then put together his conclusions, replying to the request made by the chief justice and justice minister, and submit them by Tuesday afternoon. One of the reasons Rivlin did not conclude his inquiry Monday is that he wished to collect testimony from Lahav 433 investigators who worked on the case.
The Justice Ministry said Hayut and Shaked intended to allow Rivlin's decision to be made public after they receive it, and upon its review will jointly decide which steps—if any—should be taken against Judge Poznanski-Katz.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday she would impeach any judge who commits a criminal offense, noting "If we learn of a judge who transgressed, he won't remain a judge."
The justice minister added, "If the need arises, I will convene the Judicial Selection Committee and we will enact the impeachment authority.
"I was outraged along with all Israeli citizens. The correspondence that was revealed constitutes a serious blow to the public's trust in the judicial system.