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Do you know your local judge?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Point of Order, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    I had a lawyer tell me that he thought the most powerful person that many laypeople would ever come across in their lifetimes is the highest level trial court judge in their local jurisdiction. In my state, that would be the county circuit court judge, but can vary by state. And they do wield a lot of power. They can jail just about anyone who comes before them at least temporarily. They generally have broad sentencing power. In my state, they can impose the death penalty on a convicted murderer even where the jury has recommended life in prison. They can send sheriff out to pick up anyone they desire. The list goes on and on. And here they run for 6 year terms so they are often out in the community.

    So I ask, do you know your local judge? Do you think a large number in your community do? Do you think the lawyer's statement correct? If not, does he still make a fair point?
  2. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    My next-door neighbor Jim is a local judge. It hasn't paid off yet but I keep buying the beer.
  3. Matt Stephens

    Matt Stephens Well-Known Member

    I was covering a local golf tournament during the summer and a county judge was competing as a father-son duo. I had last names due to the leader board, but no firsts. Had only been living here for a couple of months at the time.

    Asked for each of their first names and spellings and the dad says, "you probably already know who I am." Kind of gave him a ??? and he couldn't believe I didn't recognize him, so he gave me his card. Four months later, I haven't seen him in the news or anything that would indicate someone living here for a while should, without question, know who he is.
  4. Greenhorn

    Greenhorn Active Member

    Interesting topic for discussion, Point. I of course know no judges as I am new to the area. It reminds me of the discussion if judges should be elected in the first place (some states don't allow it) and of course federal judges are not.

    Here in Texas (and in Missouri), they have county Commissioners Court with the title of Judge being part of the court. However, they are county commissioners and not judges in the judicial sense. That was confusing to me. Harry Truman's first job in politics was as a county judge.
  5. printdust

    printdust New Member

    What's scary is that about 2 percent of any town votes these people in. It's one of the biggest threats to our system.
  6. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    Was it Elihu Smails, by any chance?
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I happen to know several judges, thank you very much.
  8. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    Local Judge.

  9. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    The judge for several local towns near me is the head of the ABA-approved paralegal program at the local community college where I obtained my paralegal certificate, so I had him for a few classes. But I've never had the opportunity to observe him in court or appear before him as a defendant.
    (Actually the one night a class was supposed to go observe the session and talk to the municipal prosecutor afterwords was a night I couldn't make it - I had Springsteen tickets)
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Not really a fair question for working reporters and such.

    I know a pile of judges from federal all the way down to municipal.

    Some of them from before they were judges and working as attorneys.

    I think this is true for most people involved in reporting.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know any judges around here. I hope to never known any of them.

    But that reminded me of a story a friend who is a degenerate gambler told me. When he was in college, he got to know a local bookie well, and he used to have breakfast with him and his crew every weekend.

    One year, the town decided to get tough on the college kids and started enforcing open container laws. He got ticketed one Saturday night and had to go before the local judge. One by one they called the cases, and the judge was throwing the book at the kids. Lectures and heavy fines. He may have even given out a jail sentence, hearing my friend tell it.

    While my friend was waiting, though, he saw that the court officer was his bookie's brother, and they made eye contact.

    So they called my friend's case, and the court officer sidled up next to the judge and whispered in his ear. The judge had just finished ripping into a kid also nabbed for drinking in public. He asked my friend about the charges, and my friend said something like, "Your honor, I know I made a huge mistake and I am really sorry and it will never happen again."

    The judge said, "OK. Case dismissed."

    I'm not sure what the moral is. Always make good with the local bookie, or get to know the judge?
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    A couple of the superior court judges, including the presiding judge, are in my Rotary club. Both decent guys outside of work.
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