Too much pressure?

July 16, 2008
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We see them as the authority behind the bench, applying the law and dispensing justice on a daily basis. But what happens when a judge crosses the line – criminal conduct or not – and allows work or personal pressure to cloud judgment enough that it has a direct impact on their career?

A trial judge in Indiana faces misconduct charges for apparently going to a colleague’s courtroom during a sentencing hearing, while wearing his judicial robe, then causing a disturbance with a deputy prosecutor and verbally berating the defendant’s family. Earlier this year, another trial judge and his commissioner had several counts lodged against them alleging delays and dereliction of duty, including charges that the judge didn’t adequately supervise his staff and allowed delays in at least one case that resulted in a man being kept in prison almost two years longer than he should have been.

Don’t forget about other examples where judges have been disciplined for drinking and driving. Or high-profile examples of when a New York judge was tossed from the bench after jailing 46 people because a cell phone interrupted his courtroom proceedings. Or a federal bankruptcy judge in Massachusetts who resigned a week after he was arrested for driving drunk while reportedly wearing a woman’s dress, heels, and stockings.

What is the effect these examples have on the legal community and judiciary?
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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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