Appeals court judge faces ethics questions

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Associated Press

Posted on May 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Updated Friday, May 23 at 1:02 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chief judge of a federal appeals court has issued a public apology for sending an inappropriate email to an attorney who had argued cases before him.

Judge Randall Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit says he was "inexcusably careless" for sending the message praising the lawyer's skills and urging him to share it with others.

Such messages are considered inappropriate under ethics rules.

Rader issued the statement after announcing Friday that he will step down as chief judge of the court, which specializes in patent cases. He will be succeeded as chief by Judge Sharon Prost effective May 30.

Rader also recused himself in two cases involving the attorney.

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