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IBA: Tips From the Bench

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By The Hon. Lisa Borges, Marion Superior Court Criminal Division

Each time you step into a courtroom, you have a goal to achieve. You may need to get in and out quickly because you need to be in nine separate courtrooms at the same time. It’s possible you want something outrageous (for a really, really good reason), thus you want to be heard after all the other folks leave. Judges appreciate your busy schedule and understand you may not always be able to put our courts first. And believe it or not, we really want you to be happy! In order to assist the court in getting you what you need, there are a few things you can do. Remember Eddie Haskell? No one would suggest going that far. But wouldn’t you like to have all your friends say “Mom (or that judge) always liked you best?” The following are some suggestions which may well catapult you to the top of the ‘faves’ list:
 

borges-mug Borges

INTRODUCE YOURSELF – We could be having an “elder moment” and have forgotten who you are what you are doing over there at the table. And don’t you want everyone else in the courtroom to know you, too?

BE ON TIME – AKA, LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE, WHY AND WHEN YOU WILL ARRIVE – We’ll accept almost any excuse. The donkey cart broke down, the kids play isn’t over yet…We just want to know when we will finish the calendar, because the motions your friends are filing right now are piling up in the office and the Bailiff is starving.

SUGGEST A DATE – If you’re ready, say so! If you aren’t, say when you WILL be ready. The Amazing Judge Carnack, can’t actually see into your calendar. Murphy’s Law says we’ll always pick a date you don’t want and we get embarrassed fumbling around suggesting date after date. Some of us are considering going to a lottery system.

KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR CASE – at the very least, be able to recognize your client. We have to figure out what to do with our other cases if yours is going to take a week to try. Remember to tip us off so we can prepare to concentrate on your case and only your case.

GIVE US A “HEADS UP” FOR EVIDENTIARY I.E.D’S IN YOUR TRIAL – We really will read the cases you give us before trial. In fact, we’re such big readers we go into transports over your Bench Briefs.

DRESS FOR COURT – Your client’s tee shirt that shows Tweety Bird with the saying “If you see a copy Warn-A-Brother” should be inside out during any court session. And you know your mother would want you to dress up to be a good example.

BRING YOUR OWN ART SUPPLIES AND TAKE THEM WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO – Unless you’d like to fund lockers for the court office.

BE NICE TO OUR STAFF – We don’t mean to give presents. All we ask is that you speak kindly and say please. They can help you in ways you can’t imagine. For example: working hard to convince us your excuse for being late is true or maybe even suggesting something that’s been working lately.

EX PARTE IS (ALMOST) ALWAYS A BAD THING – This will make us run for cover.

DON’T INTERRUPT – and please tell your client not to interrupt either. The court reporters are very valuable and we are trying to stay on their good side. They can become quite irritable if they can’t hear what’s being said, which is bad for everyone.

COME TO COURT WITH YOUR CLIENT – or at least have an idea where he or she might be.

REMEMBER, JUDGES ARE PEOPLE TOO – Smile. It will make us happy – and keep us wondering!•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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