Wednesday, April 11, 2007

SCHRODINGER'S JUDGE

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).

26 comments:

FORMER JUDGE said...

this "moderation" is really depressing. i am so addicted to this blog that i check it and read the comments every 2-3 hours. with this new moderation, there is nothing for me to read.
please rumpole, take into consideration that a former judge like me needs to be kept up to date on an hourly basis so i know what is happening with my former colleagues and the great lawyers at the justice building. please reconsider?

4 8 15 16 23 42 said...

I cannot believe it's past midnight and the comments are now at zero. Are we Lost? The days of humour and the most honest discourse forever stuck in a black hole of cyberspace? Is the flux capacitor borken or is there some wormhole to get us back to where we started?

Judge's write here but are constrained by the caNNons. Is it anyone but I that finds this as dark irony? The torcholders of justice cannot shed light in for all to see.

Can not a judge (arguably) take self-protective steps to assure anonymity and post thoughtful material to aid the public and lawyers? The contention judges ought never blog falls on deaf ears. It is empirical proof of the constraint that must frustrate some members of The Bench. However, I can see merit to the argument of not blogging though disagree.

Try telling The Supreme Court Justices who spoke with Woodward when he wrote The Bretheren that. A blog is the futuristic functional equivalent of that without the need of someone from The Post.

You can almost look at this experiment from a historical perspective. Except we have gone from an Enlightened Age to The Dark Ages. Again, failing to learn from history. Technology is here for greatness in a variety of forms.

That Rumpole has chosen to moderate for both personal and extrinsic reasons it would seem is sad and antithetical to the Oath. Defence of the First Amendment.

It's time to leave the State of Natue, cooperate, and use technology as fabric to weave a society. Not a gun to hold others hostage.

--John Locke

Anonymous said...

Gosh, if the former brother in law to the Mayor is not safe who is?

"The former brother-in-law of Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez said he was mistaken for a crook and then beaten by police [6 Miami-Dade Police]officers on Sunday."

http://www.nbc6.net/news/11635300/detail.html

Anonymous said...

I was once a prosecutor in Judge Pineiro's division and believe me when I tell you I tried MANY cases while there. This explains why I actually laughed out loud at his comment that he was going to allow us unlimited voir dire over at the family courthouse. That was a good one, Judge.

Rumpole said...

Quite simply, here is the problem with unmoderated comments:

a person writes at 11PM- lawyer x uses drugs

another person writes at 12 midnight lawyer Y is having an affair with a judge.

I am in trial the next day. I get home that night, a bit hung over after celebrating another victory, and go to sleep. The next morning I wake up, go for a stroll, have some breakfast, and around 2pm I look at the blog. Now- 2 very inflamatory comments have been on the blog for 2 full days before I can remove them. meanwhile, one lawyer's wife google's his name and sees the allegation he is having an affair, while another lawyer's prosecpective client googles his name and sees the allegation he uses drugs.

How can I let this happen?
If there was a way I could get google to allow me to have a few select people like the captain (who I do not know) assist me in screening and removing comments, it would make the job of taking down comments easier.

For every person frustrated that they cannot see their comment at 2am, there are several lawyers and judges emailing me that as long as moderation continues, they will participate in the blog.

Unless you can convince me otherwise, moderation it is

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I must say that I have wanted to "prick" many judges but, not Judge Piniero. He is one of the real good ones.

Anonymous said...

Only three days left for the DUI power rankings!

Anonymous said...

I know this is off subject, but I am trying to locate a Miami attorney named Michael Decker. Anyone know where he is and how I can get in touch with him?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what is going on with the Broward Blog today? Are they going to provide defendant arrest information for free since the clerks office there is charging a dollar a page?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anybody really believes or even cares about those posts about drug use, affairs, etc. that have prompted Rumpole to bring back moderation. As for me, I skip over to the next serious post recognizing the stupid posts for what they are: pure infantile b.s.

Anonymous said...

7:00pm are you looking for Michael Becker? I dont know Decker. Moderation sucks.....

Batman said...

Moderation is the appropriate response to the abuses that have taken place here. With my first appearance on The Blog my major complaint with Rump and many of the participants was their belief that their anonymity is a license to libel and slander others. Some of the allegations here have been mistakes at best, but others are out and out lies meant to destroy the subject’s personal and/or professional life. I stated months ago that if these provocateurs were forced to reveal themselves and face the consequences of their actions, these type of character assassinations would not take place. I also believe that many of those who make the false and scandalous accusations don't identify themselves because they know, they too, would be subjected to attack and ridicule.

In the end the choice is not only Rumpole's, but also ours. If you don't want moderation, then the only other course of action is a requirement of identification and verification before you can participate.

Kudos Rump. The mere fact that you think enough of what happens here to put in the effort needed to moderate and keep the debate going is worthy of commendation.

See you in the dark alleys of the City with a helping hand if you need it.

Anonymous said...

Everything in moderation.

Anonymous said...

Would you please stop posting the DUI power rankings.

They are not true, accurate or worth posting.

Anonymous said...

Please Join Us April 14th for a Statewide Hate Crimes Vigil
In Memory of Ryan Skipper

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Join us in celebrating Bryan's life and help us spotlight the terrible impact of hate violence.

on: Saturday, April 14, 1:00 PM
at: Pridelines on the corner of NE 19th Street and 2nd Ave
(across the street from Temple Israel of Greater Miami)

Sponsored by Equality Florida, Pridelines, GLSEN South Florida, SAVE, The Human Rights Campaign, and
the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

www.savedade.com

Anonymous said...

Moderation is more of pain than what it solves.

rick freedman said...

to 12:07 PM

I believe you are looking for Michael Becker, not Michael Decker.

Becker is at:

1200 Brickell Ave Ste 1620
Miami Florida 33131-3257
Phone: 305.538-0520
Fax: 305.532-9796
E-Mail: mdbecker@atlanticbb.net

he is on the same floor of the same building as Lyons, Lurvey, Shuminer and me; you know, the group that makes up Rumpole

The Legal Beagle said...

Why can't people just moderate themselves? I think a reasonable argument can be made that all Rumpole has to do is make a good faith effort to check the blog when his schedule permits and moderate when appropriate by deleting comments. The alternative is a paradigm where attorneys can never have a true blog.

The twisted logic of this is attorneys are supposed to be guardians of the First Amendment.

This sucks. It's not Rumpole's fault by any stretch. Catch-22. Pun intended.

Not unnoticed, the coincidental timing of the hypocrisy of Jackson and Sharpton. Their hit and run tactics are sickening. Nice of them to apologize to the Duke Lacrosse team and falsely accused members. The two of them have made plenty of remarks degrading many in the past.

This little bubble here is representing the globe. Not to say I agree with Imus, but, the death penalty is way out of sync with his alleged, "crime." See, Voltaire and Orwell.

Sorry for the tangent, the suggestion is at the top of the rest of my dissatisfaction with the way things are turning out lately in this topsy-turvy world we live in.

Good luck in figuring out the real conundrum of this blog. No longer is it about Rumpole's ID. It's about all of our rights to write.

Anonymous said...

To claim "no one cares" about vicious falsehoods spread is an absurdity.

A suggestion. On Wonkette, one has to audition to be a blogger and comment. For those who make it, the curtain is lifted. Wonkette is pretty big. How about auditions for blogging if the site permits such? Just a thought. Good luck Rump.

Rumpole said...

For those of you who are against moderation and say you are not troubled by the vicious and sometimes disgusting comments, my belief is 1) you have never been the subject of such comments. 2) Resolve this issue- because this blog is frequently read, when your name appears, it also appears on a google search, usually in the top three responses. How would you like to have your name linked to some vicious falsehood about your reputation? I am working as hard as I can to get the comments up quickly. This takes more effort from me then from you all.

Rumpole said...

For instance- someone sent in a comment that a particular well loved and elderly attorney didn't look well and would be dead within a few months. How outrageous! How awful to say something like that. I don't want my blog associated with death watches over people we like and respect and care about. What kind of moron writes such crap?

Anonymous said...

rump

can you put a juke box on your blog

Anonymous said...

It's already Friday. That means only two days till we get the week's DUI power rankings!

Anonymous said...

Whoever is the "legal beagal" wins the award for the best posting.

How come Rumpole can not make his toung stick out like that?

My DUI Power rankings:

Reiff
Catalano
Hersch

All others are something less.

Anonymous said...

Sharpton. No racism - no job.

Anonymous said...

It continues to amaze me that public defenders, state attorneys and judges who use the Internet from their offices continue to forget that EVERYTHING they do on the Internet is LOGGED and could be Public Record. Signing their comments as "Anonymous" doesn't mean anything.

signed,

Someone Who Knows