In this day and age of “strict constructionists” and criminal court Judges who were neither prosecutors nor public defenders, Judge Young could see the forest through the trees. Cases before him were not just charges with corresponding guidelines. Cases were in fact people.
Judge Young could always see the good in almost anybody who appeared before him. That is not to say he was not a tough sentencer. He was, where the facts of the case called for it. But he was also the type of Judge who understood, because he was a former prosecutor, that there was more to any particular case then an arrest report and an allegation.
We have oft decried the devaluation of a criminal case. What we mean is that there is a qualitative difference between the burglary charge where a stranger breaks into a house, and an estranged husband who gets arrested when he returns home to pick up some items and gets into another fight. However the Husband may well plead to CTS to get out of jail rather than fight the charges. If either of those two people were to get re-arrested, Judge Young was the type of Judge who you could get to look beyond the priors, and into the facts of the case, to really see who your client was.
This is a trait sadly missing in many of our current Judges.
The “its not my job” philosophy has taken hold. Judges know that hundreds if not thousands of people plead guilty every year to charges that are not supported by the facts of the case, just to get out of jail. There isn’t a judge in the REGJB who doesn’t know that. Yet, many of them will turn a blind eye to that fact when it comes time to evaluate a defendant, for either bond, or an appropriate sentence.
What we are trying to say is that Judge Young understood the practicalities of the system; the good and the bad. He was not afraid to make the tough call either way. And in the end, whether you liked his decision or didn’t agree with it, you would have to agree that Judge Young did what he believed was the right thing to do, not the easy thing to do.
It's not an accident that Judge Young has sat in the courtroom where Judge Cowart's portrait hangs: two Judges who were known for their interest and concern in all who appeared before them.We wish Judge Young well. We just wish he wasn’t leaving. The citizens of Dade County are a little less better off the day he resigns.
See You In Court.