This blogger is well aware of the many well-intentioned folks who regularly work to better the justice system. Those who attend committee meetings to focus on a specific problem, those who spearhead initiatives (such as Minnesota Judge Tanya Bransford’s work to reduce the amount of time juveniles spend in jail), and those who do the day-to-day work to create the systems, and tweak the mechanics, so that the engine runs.
By offering potential solutions, I am not, in any way, seeking to diminish the hard work and ideas of those folks. And I am not intending to suggest that I am the first person to come up with potential solutions. I know that many within the system work hard on a consistent basis to come up with solutions. Those people who care are to be thanked and praised.
But I believe the way we arrive at the best solutions, is to have open discussion about them. And I believe that members of the public do have something to offer justice system insiders.
So I’ll put out some of my ideas. I’ll talk about ideas that I hear as I am out in the community. And I’ll talk about the ideas of others, in the various forms in which they reach me.
Every time you see the picture at the left, it’s a “solution” blog. As with all of these posts, when you see the “solution” blog, you can read it, don’t read it, consider it, reject, you choose. If you think I’m all wet because it’s been tried before, or considered before and rejected, well, that’s fine, too. As I am wont to say, it’s hard at times to figure out what is going behind the iron curtain (that’s my name of the wall between the public and the ‘inner workings’ of the justice system). So maybe I sound uninformed about something you insiders know a lot about. But just perhaps the solution blogs will engender some type of discussion. And if any of you want to help take down the iron curtain by sharing what you do back there (so I can tell, for example, that you’ve considered something and rejected it), that would be welcome, too.
If some of the potential solutions offend you, I am kinda sorry, but kinda not. I am not intending to offend anyone. But I have a right to describe my ideas, even if someone is offended. There are times when I dont’ think the statement is offensive at all, yet some judge (or group of judges) is offended. I simply cannot get inside someone else’s head and decide what they might not want me to say.
I have certainly noticed ire after I deliver some type of public statement or idea about the courts. I am a human being of 55 years on the planet, and I can tell if someone is PO’d (even if that person is wearing a robe). Such when I talk publicly on the radio on a Thursday evening, and come to court the next Friday morning, and before anything happens in the case, the judge is huffy, fuming and harsh facial expression, shooting daggers my direction (c’mon, y’all, do you think I don’t notice?), you know, the things we humans key off of from each other, to interpret the other one is upset. And if nothing has happened in the case to warrant this, I do consider that this could be engered by what I said. This has happened to me a lot. I find it kinda sad, and kinda funny.
It’s sad because these people are supposed to be mature, reasoned and termperate. When they get PO’d just because of something I said about a public institution, I am sad because I expect more from these people who chose to become judges. (No one is forcing them to be judges; do you know how much in the community it comes up, “if you don’t like your job why don’t you just quit!”)
It’s kinda funny because it shows a real inability to handle criticism. An adult judge, some of these people judges for 10, 20 years. Yet they have not learned to handle criticism. If certain judges cannot even handle my criticizing an entire branch of government, what chance is there that a Minnesotan could criticize that judge without invoking the same ire? (Ok, so this makes me sad, too.)
There is much to be said about the entire debate over elections v. appointment of judges. But one thing that hits me over and over, is that on the campaign trail, the candidate is criticized all the time (every week if not every day, depending on the profile of the campaign). This is an important de-sensitizing process. You will find that most adults, if they are criticized a lot, will learn to manage it, and not to get so bent about it.
I don’t believe judges should be criticized less. I believe judges should be criticized more. I think they need to be criticized to the point they are de-sensitized, and more able to accept the criticism as just something that occurs, and not get bilious about it.
I’m not in any way endorsing being nasty to judges in the courtroom. That’s not at all my style. I’m talking about discussing ideas about the justice system. You cannot talk about the justice system without talking about judges.
If you have a strong feeling about one of the potential solutions or if you want to share some information with me, you can go to About, fill out information about yourself, and send me a message. Your comment will be reviewed but it will not publicly post.