September 18, 2008

Judges in shorts.

There are a lot of problems with the 1,250 town and village courts in New York, according to a new report, but some things are truly alarming:
Some of the more serious problems uncovered in the report include a duplication of town courts in some areas and a severe shortage in other areas; justices who hand down sentences with seeming disregard for the law; and inadequate courtroom facilities.

The report referred to one judge who threatened a litigant for not adhering to a court order, writing to him on court stationery, “Remember, I know where you live.” The report also described one courtroom that was no more than a small, poorly ventilated room attached to the town garage. Judges told the commission that the room got so hot in the summer that they had to wear shorts while hearing cases.


ADDED: Here's email from Dan Majchrzak of Rochester, NY:
I am a NY attorney, former ADA and currently a law clerk for a State Supreme Court Justice. I can tell you as a former ADA, when I worked in town and village courts, some of the justices were indeed laypersons, but their results and decisions were almost always where the ball would fall if a lawyer-judge were presiding. Being the prosecutor in a small village court with a lay judge, I had a real interest in ensuring that the record was correct and that the judge made the right call--win or lose for me. These judges were always thorough and fair and in many instances, put far more thought into an issue than many lawyer judges would have. I suspect that this report is a call for a full employment act for the bar. The current system has been in place for over 100 years and the results are fair. As far as lay judge misconduct, there is an equal amount of misconduct reported on lawyer judges across the state which is the subject of judicial misconduct reports. So, just thought I'd give you an added perspective on this.

19 comments:

Simon said...

You're wearing a robe! Who'd know?

Pastor_Jeff said...

In Ann's world, that earns an automatic mistrial and reprimand for judicial misconduct.

dmfoiemjsof said...

That alone should be grounds for reversal.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Simon -- surely they're not floor length.

Maybe they have little fake trouser pants sewn into the bottom hem. There are few things worse than shorts with dress shoes.

Don't tell me they wore sneakers or sport sandals with the robes. Ugh!

Too many jims said...

Pastor_Jeff said...

In Ann's world, that earns an automatic mistrial and reprimand for judicial misconduct.


Let's not jump to conclusions, the excerpt does not say whether the judges were men or women.

William said...

Only fair. The lawyers were allowed to present their briefs.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Let's not jump to conclusions, the excerpt does not say whether the judges were men or women.

Ha! Good point.

Peter V. Bella said...

William said...
Only fair. The lawyers were allowed to present their briefs.


Only fair. The lawyers were allowed to present in their briefs.

There, fixed.

Simon Kenton said...

Got shut down about 2 AM on I40 out near Gallup NM. Maybe in Thoreau? (Which is pronounced 'Threw.') I was running a golden 1957 Dodge with a bullet hole in the right rear fin. Running one-eyed, or tailpipe and muffler wrapped around the axle, some sort of equipment failure. I admit, the car was something of an irritant to any law officer.

The highway patrolman led me to the magistrate's office, which looked like a converted garage, but did have walls lined with books. The magistrate asked me how much money I had - $14.38. This was fortunate, because the fine was $12.50. I paid and drove off toward Albuquerque. Somewhat later I learned that magistrate courts had been abolished years before in New Mexico.

Peter V. Bella said...

Well, it does make it easier on them. They could get to the golf course and not have to change.

Methadras said...

Simon said...

You're wearing a robe! Who'd know?


Kind of like the judge who was caught fapping in the courtroom during a case. He wore a robe too.

Lem said...

Troll Justice...

http://tinyurl.com/3rkuo9

Revenant said...

justices who hand down sentences with seeming disregard for the law

But do they hand down sentences with regard for heart and empathy? That's more important than the law, you know.

Tibore said...

Good grief! Men in shorts again?

Bissage said...

(1) I recognize that some reforms are well past due. Still, we traduce long-standing traditions at our peril. With that in mind, I stand assured that all right-thinking people will agree with me that the "Empire State" would do well to retain the writ of trespass quare clausum fregit. It ROCKS!!!

(2) A personal story: When I was in law school, Judge Kaye was visiting for a conference. She was friends with one of my law professors and she met with some of us after class. The way she leered at my package made me feel dirty all over. Excellent!

SteveR said...

Simon K: In that part of New Mexico at 2 AM not getting killed by a drunk driver makes everything else into a blessing. The patrolman and the "judge" were no doubt relatives.

goesh said...

Seriously, some years ago in Larue Co. Kentucky, I saw a District Court room where there was a panel missing from the front of the bench. His Honor's chair looked like a kitchen chair with a long back and this is true, there was this huge, frayed bell rope hanging down behind the Judge's chair. On the other side of the missing panel of the bench, the corner was like horses or other large animals had been rubbing against it, sort of raw and polished like with the varnish missing. I swear to God, the Prosecutor's table had some graffti on it and a few initials have been carved on top of it. I was a Social Worker at the time and had this abuse case of a boy whipped with a cord and the half-baked defense attorney kept haggling over how I knew the cord was looped, despite pictures to the contrary, but I couldn't take my eyes off the bench with its missing panel and that rope - there was no witness stand so I was sitting with the Prosecutor at his table and we were actually bickering back and forth and the Judge seemed so far away, poor fellow, and allowed this bickering to go on and on. I'll never forget this. The hapless father got a suspended sentence and the boy remained with his maternal grandparents who hated the father so I left feeling reasonably good about the boy anyway.

former law student said...

I'm fairly sure Ann jinxed me today. Stopping at the grocery store to get butter and a quart of milk, I saw a white-bearded man McCain's age wearing burgundy-colored shorts striding along. To add to the sartorial horror, he was wearing calf-high black socks.

Jerome Cole said...

Traduce? Are you some kind of wanna-be William F. Buckley?