BLOGGING FROM THE BENCH
Much like the Imus contretemps, (he was fired by MSNBC Wednesday night) a “throw-away” comment about Judges blogging at work has erupted into a thoughtful conversation, on Judges, Blogging at work, and voire dire in family court.
Judge Faber started things off with a well written explanation on why he hired some of his current staff that used to work for his predecessor.
Then Judge Pinero chimed in with a thoughtful comment on Judges Blogging, voire dire, and yogurt. You can read both of the Robed Readers comments in the comments section to Monday’s post.
Judge Pinero had this to say on the issue of the propriety of Judicial blogging:
Firstly, please know that I did not decide to post under my own name on a mere whim. I thought long and hard about doing so. The Canons require I should uphold the integrity of the bench at all times--if i don't I will be and well should be in deep doo doo. Leaving aside the medium used for my comments. My comments have been directed at all times to issues, which I humbly believe, furthered the proper administration of justice--also mandated by the Canons.
Judge Pinero then threw in a clever plug for the blog, showing that he knows where his bread is buttered: Secondly, as to the medium--posting on Rumpole's blog. Where else do you get immediate and varied feedback?
In the penultimate paragraph, a quote from the Bard and the Merchant of Venice by Judge Pinero was sure to win our favor as well: Lastly, believe it or not, judges are people too--when you prick us, do we not bleed? (no infantile comments, please)
And finally, in the best traditions of the blog, a little fun with the readers: As an example of how the blog can be a learning experience I wish to inform some members of the criminal bar that I have decided to emend my practice and follow their and Rumpole's suggestion. While in the family division, I have decided to allow the litigators free rein to conduct exhaustive and wide ranging jury selection with no interruptions from the bench.
All in all, a textbook comment.
Quantum Mechanics is never far from our mind, and as we have previously written, neither is Schrodinger’s Cat. The principle behind Erwin Schrodinger’s postulation of a possible paradox, is that in quantum mechanics, one could imagine placing a cat in a steel box (we have such thoughts over certain prosecutors and judges from time to time, but for purposes of tradition, we’ll stick with the cat) and removing it from all outside influences to the extent that at some point the state of the cat could only be described by combining possible rest states- as any measurement could not be done without the observation interfering with the experiment. The experiment envisioned a machine that when a radioactive isotope decayed, released poison gas. Under these conditions of isolation and no observation, the cat could-under the laws of Quantum Mechanics- be said to be both alive and dead at any particular moment.
Now, to solve our own little dilemma, one can imagine a Judge, safe from prying eyes in their secure chambers, either studiously labouring on an order denying our motion to suppress, or writing comments on the blog. This being the Justice Building, the JA is on a break, and the Bailiff is playing on-line poker on the computer in the chambers next door. Without any observation (assuming FDLE has removed the remainder of the bugs left over from Operation Court-Broom) our Jurist could be said to be both denying our motion to suppress, and blogging, at the same moment.
Quite a feat for a Judge who doesn’t bother to read the cases we send with the motion.
We think judicial participation on the blog is a good thing. Judges have apologized, explained, and risen in indigent defense of their actions. All helped to promote a dialogue between the parties. We agree that a Judge should not expound on the propriety of a decision of another Judge, or opine on a legal issue that may come before them. But a brief comment on why they hold 8am soundings, or conduct voire dire until 9PM might be appropriate.
And of course, Judge Pinero’s new experiment on voire dire in family court bears watching. Perhaps, he might expound on his ideas and write a scholarly article on the subject. Maybe even a book deal is in the future. In any event, no one can dispute that we enjoy his input and the blog is better off for it.
See You In Court, and not in court, all at the same time. (In theory).