Supreme Court Justice 'On Leave' Slated to Hear Case

Justice took leave of absence after police were given permission to investigate him under caution as part of a probe into reported corruption in Bat Yam city hall.

While Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is taking his time in making a decision concerning the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger, the justice has been scheduled to hear cases next Monday.

Danziger is scheduled to be part of a tribunal on Monday along with justices Eliezer Rivlin and Esther Hayut, and the three will hear seven appeals of criminal cases and two petitions to the High Court of Justice.

Yoram Danziger - Eyal Toueg - 14112011
Eyal Toueg

Danziger took a leave of absence in August after Weinstein gave the police permission to investigate the justice under caution as part of a probe into reported corruption in Bat Yam city hall. The suspicions under investigation were that Danziger provided personal legal services to Bat Yam Mayor Shlomo Lahiani for no renumeration, and in return Lahiani allegedly made sure that Danziger's law firm received work from the municipality. At the time of the suspected acts, Danziger was in private practice. .

In September, the police recommended indicting Lahiani and several other senior city officials for a a long list of offenses, including accepting bribes and money laundering, but at the same time the police recommended to the State Prosecutor's Office the case against Danziger be closed for "lack of guilt," which means the police felt he committed no crime, as opposed to closing the case for a "lack of evidence."

Weinstein has held a number of meetings in recent weeks over this very question: whether the case against Danziger should be closed for lack of guilt, in which case he could return to the Supreme Court; or closed for lack of evidence, in which case his return could be more problematic.

All the court hearings in which Danziger was scheduled to participate were canceled when he went on leave in August; some were postponed and others were rescheduled with other justices n his stead. In the meantime, in a step that some may interpret as an act of defiance over Weinstein's delay in making a decision, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch decided last month that Danziger may write up rulings while on leave. At the time, the Courts Administration explained Beinisch's decision: "In light of the lack of a decision of the attorney general in the matter, rulings that Justice Danziger took part in were delayed for a long time and no reason has been found to continue to delay them."

The courts spokesman denied that putting Danziger back on the Supreme Court schedule was in any way a message from Beinisch to Weinstein about the delay. The spokesman said that for technical reasons Danziger's name had not been removed from next week's schedule, and he would continue to be removed from the schedule until Weinstein makes a decision.