Court orders are not personal journals

I am puzzled, often, by the fact that certain judges, who apparently get quite angry at me for filing documents where my clients comment on judges or the courts, feel they are permitted to use court orders to haul off on me.

Why do certain judges seem to always want to make it about the attorney?

And I ask, why do it in court orders?

I think we can all agree, court orders should apply the law to the facts.

Court orders are about the party (not the attorney who files the pleading).  Court orders should not to be used to mete out a political agenda.

If you are so biased against the worldview of the party, or your perceived “reputation” of the attorney causes you to choke (yup, I’m talking about that behind-the-scenes gossip about attorneys that filters through courts but which attorneys have no way to rebut), then please get off the file.

The public that I hear from are soooo over judges using court orders for intimidation.  They are sooo over judges acting out instead of doing their job:  applying the law to the facts.

You are given a position of trust, which you abuse by manipulating court orders to perpetuate your own agenda.

I have a right to say that.  If you cannot control your emotions about me for saying it, please get off my clients’ files.

In my view, the public is going to continue to demand that judges appropriately address pleadings where parties challenge the conduct of judges.

The public’s trust in the judiciary is eroding.  It will continue to erode if judges are hostile to pleadings that raise legitimate, timely issues of judicial conduct.  The “old rules” of thumping any attorney who raises these issues must give way to a more modern view.

Judges who intentionally misuse orders in this way should be able to be sued.  Otherwise, they’ll continue to hide their bad conduct in court orders.  They will actually be incentivized to use court orders to perpetuate bad motives, thinking that the order automatically gives them immunity.  And we, the public, will have no way of addressing the behavior.

(Look, so many of us have tried ethics complaints, and they go nowhere, or worse.)

I have many examples.  I’ll discuss some of those orders in later posts.  (Yup, judges, you slap an attorney in a public order, your order is fair game for my public discourse about it).  

I’ll also discuss some orders where judges (or panels) handled a difficult issue with grace and aplomb.  (There are many of these orders as well, and I would never imply that there are not.)

When it comes to issues of judicial misconduct or criticism of the courts, maybe court orders need an extra filter:  before you hit that “send” button, ask:

  • Will the public view me as protecting judges – because I am a judge?
  • Will the public view me as protecting the court system, because I work in it?

To go to the next level of maturity on this issue, I think we may need that extra filter.

On the other hand, judges, if you want to vent about the changing times, if you want to be able to comment without holding back, consider starting a blog.

###