Thursday, January 14, 2016

Judges Are Like Bloggers

We’re sure that some judges are shuddering at that thought, but indeed judges and bloggers have one very important trait in common: They both make decisions every day and invariably receive negative feedback for these decisions from at least part of the public.

In what could be called a sparsely populated area, judges invariably are connected in some manner to many who appear before them. Sometimes these judges recuse themselves; other times they don’t. We were asked recently to comment on a current case set to be heard shortly in a local circuit court. It seems a family member of a person to appear before this judge had “socialized” with him. Wouldn’t this be grounds for recusal?

Upon looking closely at the matter, the person in question worked for a law firm and was included in various business lunches. If recusal were called for, then it would have to affect any attorney, clerk, etc., who had ever had a business lunch with the judge. We don’t see business lunches as being included in the definition of socializing, and don’t feel that a recusal was in order.

Does that mean we agreed with the judge’s decision to offer youthful offender status to one of two defendants in a manslaughter type case? No. We think both defendants should be incarcerated for at least 10 years, if not more. Nevertheless, we’re not the judge or jury, and it’s not our call to make.


While on the subject of judges:

Some years ago a family member of ours decided to have what’s commonly called bariatric surgery. We understand that this surgery offers several methods to obtain the desired weight loss, but none is completely safe. In doing research on the subject, our relative constantly encountered the caveat not to let a surgeon perform this procedure who didn’t already have over 100 of these operations under his/her belt.

How about judges? Would you want your relative to come before a judge who had never practiced law as such? Think about this as the elections near. We’ll have more later and accept comments on either side of this issue.


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