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Old 06-28-08, 12:38 PM   #1
Kurt Erlenbach
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How not to behave in court

I think I have a pretty good judicial temperament. I've spent a goodly amount of time in court before difficult judges, so when I got my shot on the bench, I made sure to be polite, respectful to the lawyers and litigants, I make sure to let everyone have their say, and I work hard to be nice to everyone, even when they don't deserve it.

I know that coming to court is difficult, and the stuff I do (child support matters) makes people testy. Yesterday was a terrible day. The first fellow I had was a few thousand dollars behind in his support and blamed everyone (including me) but himself for it. I ended up doing something I have never done before - I threw him out of court. I got so fed up with him that I told him to go sit in the hall until later in the morning. In two later hearings during the day, I yelled at people to stop interrupting me (I hate being interrupted. Maybe that's why I like internet forums). The courtroom was hot, we were overscheduled, we had to send some folks home without a hearing because we were late, we almost worked through lunch and were late getting done. I felt crummy all day and came home, ate a sandwich, drank some wine, and went to bed.

Riding is a good way to relief stress, but when you don't feel good, wine works better.
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Old 06-28-08, 01:10 PM   #2
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Sorry, judge, but you sound like an ordinary crybaby to me.

The A/C isn't working, oh boo hoo.

That man has problems accepting responsibility, oh boo hoo.

My clerk overbooked, oh boo hoo.

The lawyers are longwinded and made me late, oh boo hoo.

People wouldn't let me finish prattling on, oh boo hoo.

Had you never been in a courtroom before when you ran for the job? Sounds like a pretty ordinary day.

Defendants are there precisely because they lack responsibility. Why the surprise? The clerk overbooked because you let them. You run the courtroom, not the clerks. Lawyers are always long-winded. Didn't you learn that in law school? And judges, being lawyers, are equally long-winded. My only surprise is that you're not interrupted more often.

That leaves the A/C. Call maintenance.

Last edited by tsl; 06-28-08 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 06-28-08, 01:23 PM   #3
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Rut roh...
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Old 06-28-08, 01:45 PM   #4
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Tough days are tough days...but they're misery when you're sick.

Hey, if I get a sick Judge...can I get a retrial?
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Old 06-28-08, 02:20 PM   #5
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I am not connected directly to the judicial system but my work occasionally involves me in family court. I appreciate what you are saying, and I am genuinely amazed at what the judges are willing to put up with in their courts. I couldn't do it! My (very well contained) urge, when listening to some of the avoident, irresponsible, factitious, aggressive jerks trying to convince the judge of their innocence is to get out there and knock a few heads together. It sounds to me like you handled things honestly and well. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 06-28-08, 02:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Sorry, judge, but you sound like an ordinary crybaby to me.

The A/C isn't working, oh boo hoo.

That man has problems accepting responsibility, oh boo hoo.

My clerk overbooked, oh boo hoo.

The lawyers are longwinded and made me late, oh boo hoo.

People wouldn't let me finish prattling on, oh boo hoo.

Had you never been in a courtroom before when you ran for the job? Sounds like a pretty ordinary day.

Defendants are there precisely because they lack responsibility. Why the surprise? The clerk overbooked because you let them. You run the courtroom, not the clerks. Lawyers are always long-winded. Didn't you learn that in law school? And judges, being lawyers, are equally long-winded. My only surprise is that you're not interrupted more often.

That leaves the A/C. Call maintenance.
Rude.

Don't ever vent to us- we'll treat you this way.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:01 PM   #7
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Sorry, judge, but you sound like an ordinary crybaby to me.

The A/C isn't working, oh boo hoo.

That man has problems accepting responsibility, oh boo hoo.

My clerk overbooked, oh boo hoo.

The lawyers are longwinded and made me late, oh boo hoo.

People wouldn't let me finish prattling on, oh boo hoo.

Had you never been in a courtroom before when you ran for the job? Sounds like a pretty ordinary day.

Defendants are there precisely because they lack responsibility. Why the surprise? The clerk overbooked because you let them. You run the courtroom, not the clerks. Lawyers are always long-winded. Didn't you learn that in law school? And judges, being lawyers, are equally long-winded. My only surprise is that you're not interrupted more often.

That leaves the A/C. Call maintenance.
Right or wrong - an atypical post for you.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:24 PM   #8
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Rude.

Don't ever vent to us- we'll treat you this way.
+1 Everyone should be allowed to vent, and share how cycling is JUST THE THING when things are crazy around us.

Sheesh.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:35 PM   #9
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Kerlenbach, I don't know how you have the patience for our judicial system. I can't think of where they have a better one but there are certainly problems with ours. The system is way overloaded. As frustrating as some days may seem to you, imagine being a juror. You're commanded to show up at a certain time and place, you sit and wait and wait and wait. Everything is scheduled for the convenience of the judge and lawyers that are actually PAID to be there. The convenience of the jury is the last consideration. If it's a criminal case, the reality is that the defendant, is in all probability, guilty. Sure, the cops sometimes make mistakes but overall they have a very good batting average. I was paneled once and an "accused" street level crack dealer went through 95 prospective jurors before pleading out. In civil cases, the parties frequently have no intention of going the distance. I personally think most civil matters should be handled in arbitration. But what they hey, if they really piss you off, you can throw their butts in jail. That's something worth drinking to.
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Old 06-28-08, 06:58 PM   #10
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If I were the judge in the couple of times I have been in court, I would have been really ticked at the unprepared lawyers. I mean, this is their business, right? And some of the lawyers when I was there were totally lost.

On one trial, the judge did a good job telling the attorney that was beating a dead horse, to move on. The judge did it multiple times when the lawyer kept trying to ask the same thing again and again.
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Old 06-28-08, 10:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
I think I have a pretty good judicial temperament. I've spent a goodly amount of time in court before difficult judges, so when I got my shot on the bench, I made sure to be polite, respectful to the lawyers and litigants, I make sure to let everyone have their say, and I work hard to be nice to everyone, even when they don't deserve it.

................ I felt crummy all day and came home, ate a sandwich, drank some wine, and went to bed.

Riding is a good way to relief stress, but when you don't feel good, wine works better.
Your Honor

After recently going through a divorce and working the past three years with men going through separation and divorce I am absolutely amazed at the arrogance and disregard for our judicial system, but worse yet a total lack of concern for the welfare of their own children and the havoc and destruction they have wrought in the lives of their families. I am sure that you see the dregs of society fighting over Money with little sense of responsibility and a great deal of selfishness!

Pedal some miles and enjoy a good glass of wine! You deserve it!
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Old 06-28-08, 10:16 PM   #12
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Bully for you...

Thus far, it seems that certain respondents may have been guilty of "Profiling", in sort of an inverse sense than what we typically hear about. Actually, the fact that you are one of those at the Ground Zero of our judicial logjam shoud not be lost on the rest of us. For every frustration that those of us have from the opposite side of that bench, those of you who have to make this hobbling system run clearly have an equal amount of frustration. I was struck by your frank post, or should I somehow say "plea", and would urge those who read it to think about the other side of the equation.

Since this is a forum for 50 and older cyclists, I would have expected to see more thoughtful responses (at least to this point) than some of the sophmoric stuff I have seen so far. I guess that, at 57, I have learned to expect more thoughtful responses from this group. Instead I am only seeing what would typically be proffered from those more inexperienced and less equipped to understand (read: learn from) the input of someone walking your shoes.

Empathy is something we all could offer a little more of.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a lawyer, nor a political person....only an interested citizen and human being. There is much to think about. There is much we all can offer. I agree, go out and ride before issuing commentary that will benefit no one. However, should you choose the "Wine Route" first, you would find no arguments from me.

Not trying to offend, just mend.
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Old 06-28-08, 10:37 PM   #13
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A good friend of mine has been a judge for 16 years. He's handled it well, although he is a more cynical person now than he was before.

For the judge, court is a day at work. For the defendants, it is a horribly stressful event. I know judges know this and are well prepared for it, however it has to be stressful dealing with it every day. I think it would be extremely difficult to have every person showing up in front of me being at peak stress. Judges being human are going to have bad days too, where they may not put up with as much **** as they do on other days.

Plus having to deal with so many good liars and people who refuse to accept responsibility. No wonder my friend is more cynical.
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Old 06-28-08, 10:42 PM   #14
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I read Kerlenbach's post as describing the events that lead to the day being a less than perfect one. I didn't see it as making excuses. Simply pointing out the factors that contributed to how the day went.

A good analyst should always be able to identify the factors that influenced a less than perfect outcome.
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Old 06-29-08, 12:43 AM   #15
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How bad a day we have at work is all a matter of perspective. I am surprised at some of the reactions to the OP.

Judges are at as much risk of getting injured or killed by vindictive "victims" of his decisions, especially in family law, as anyone else involved in law enforcement. As a journalist, I've been in enough courtrooms and talked to enough legal people to know how defendents manipulate the truth eough to call black white so they can avoid responsibility for their actions.

And yes! Sometimes a glass of wine or two *is* better and more convenient than a bike ride.

Hope you have a better time next week, K.
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Old 06-29-08, 01:07 AM   #16
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Child Support... oh I have so many issues with that. I'm glad I'm not on that boat. Some parents are undercharged, some are charged fairly, most are overcharged... but that would be a thread by itself I guess.
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Old 06-29-08, 05:36 AM   #17
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Kerlenbach-Thank you so much for doing what you are doing-and also for doing it the way you do. We need more of the good guys like yourself!
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Old 06-29-08, 06:49 AM   #18
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We are all entitled to complain about a bad day once in a while. Judges are certainly no exception. Keep doing the good work.
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Old 06-29-08, 11:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Sorry, judge, but you sound like an ordinary crybaby to me............oh, boo hoo
With a tirade like that, it looks like somebody else had a bad day too.

Hope you're feeling better soon too, tsl.
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Old 06-29-08, 11:42 AM   #20
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We are all entitled to complain about a bad day once in a while. Judges are certainly no exception. Keep doing the good work.
That was nicely and succinctly put -- thanks, BD.

And thanks to you, K, for your public service. It's simultaneously rewarding and frustrating, isn't it?
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Old 06-29-08, 01:55 PM   #21
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I have often thought that the interesting/frustrating thing about the judicial system is that it comes down to a judge or jury deciding which side is either wrong, lying or both...

If all that happened was a clear recollection from both sides, and an application of clear laws, it would be virtually stress free...

I would like to express my appreciation to anyone who can work in the legal profession and ethically seek and find the truth and ensure justice is served as often as possible. And hope the OP can find the peace of mind to do that as often as possible.
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Old 06-29-08, 05:39 PM   #22
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I just added a couple of lines to the jokes page on my site a few days ago.
"Did you ever just blurt out a plea in a courtroom and wish you could take
it back?" and "Justice prevailed here today and good triumphed over evil,
but my client and I plan to appeal." It's nice to be able to add a bit of humor
to anything.

They are from a comic strip, (maybe Bizarro?) and I can't remember
which one, but they stuck with me and I thought I'd add them to my
favorites.

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