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Monday, March 4, 2013

Judging the Judges

For John, BLUFJudges are protected from criticism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From time to time, Professor George Anthes, Esq, rails against judges in the Massachusetts judicial system.  He is not wrong in many of his comments, for example where he talks about judges releasing DWI/OUI convictees with just time served or no time at all.  However, he might wish to pay attention to this case in Indiana, where a man went to jail for two years for on-line rants against a judge:

A group of free-speech advocates is rallying behind an Indiana inmate serving two years for his online rants against a judge who took away his child-custody rights during a divorce case.
They have UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh in the mix of free-speech advocates.

This case has been to the Appeals Court in Indiana, which reasoned that some of the defendents accusations were false and for others:

... their truthfulness were not necessarily relevant to prosecution because the harm, which in this case was striking fear in the victim, occurred “whether the publicized conduct is true or false,” according to Reason Magazine.
Yes, it is Fox News, but does that change anything?

Final thought.  I am against electing judges, but I am in favor of having their tenure reviewed by the voters from time to time.  Send them to the ballot every eight years.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


Neal said...

Ah, but everyone in public office is placed there to further someone's agenda...whether that placement be by election or by political patronage. Which is worse?? I doubt there is a convincing answer for either case. When I was in high school, there was a superior court judge who was older than dirt. He was still on the bench when my little brother had completed four years at Stanford, taken a break for a year and then completed three years of Lewis and Clark School of law...another year prepping for the bar exam.....and a year to get settled into a practice and argue a case before this ancient reprobate. He nearly got thrown in the county jail for contempt. Larry Lahey had to be helped to mount the bench whereupon he quickly sunk into a semi-comatose state for the duration of the trial at hand. My brother threw a law book on the floor and startled the old goat back to semi-consciousness. The judge chastised him for throwing the book....whereupon my brother told him it might be more efficient to just have the transcript delivered to the judge's chambers for reading during a bathroom trip. It cost him several thousand dollars...but the local bar association felt it was an entirely appropriate comment. I guess in the end it didn't hurt my brother too much as he just completely a year as president of the WA state Bar Association, a position in which he has led the battle to invoke not only some law practice changes but some judicial reforms as well.

Contrary to popular belief, judges are mere mortals with all the fallacies and shortcomings of the species. There should be a way of the public for whom they serve to terminate their service when it becomes adverse to the public good. We might well begin with some of the folks on the SCOTUS

John McDonough said...

Never wanting to be a Judge their job is too difficult for me to sleep at night. For those Judges we have I agree with Cliff, Judges should be appointed by the High Government and affirmed after their first two years then every four years. OH we need more jails.