Is there anything more satisfying these days than being a journalist or blogger and covering the Court North of the Border?
We couldn’t make this up if we tried.
PROBLEM: The Broward Judges are concerned about recent criticism that they are a judiciary out of control and out of touch with the public. The criticism has included that the Broward Court is comprised of an “old boy network" of Judges and lawyers protecting their interlocking interests, the public be damned.
To combat the perception that Judges are “arrogant” and that the Judiciary operates as a secret and exclusive club that does what it wishes- aided and abetted by a small group of lawyers who put them there and financially benefit from the arrangement, the Broward Judiciary formed a Diversity Panel.
What’s the first thing the panel did?
SOLUTION: Book a private room in a swanky restaurant and meet over dinner and drinks with some Bar leaders….IN SECRET.
We kid you not.
When intrepid Daily Business Review Reporter Jordana Mishory found out about the meeting she was barred from entering, and like an abandoned and homeless mongrel, she was left outside with her nose pressed against the window.
DBR Executive Editor Eddie Dominguez wrote a commentary piece that is a must read.
Dominguez critiques the faulty logic of the Judiciary that in order for Bar leaders to freely speak their mind to Judges, they have to be able to do it in private.
Here is part of what he wrote, and he hit a home run in our humble opinion:
But how does one counter the public’s perception of an insensitive court with closed door discussions?
More important is that Williams’ [ Judge Elijah Williams, who chairs the commission] justification of the secret meeting would endorse the notion that a climate of intimidation and retribution does exist in Broward’s courts and that people are afraid to speak their minds unless they do so in private.
Most startling: if bar leaders can’t express their honest opinions openly, then no one can. That the judges want to operate in a closed environment is no surprise.
A number of Broward judges have demonstrated a penchant for closed proceedings. It is the insular and parochial nature of the courthouse that has helped bolster the belief by many that judges are out of touch, arrogant and not accountable. The reasoning also begs the question of why bar leaders need anonymity and secrecy to do what they were elected to do?
So, to summarize. Our Robed Readers to the North, to combat the notion that their courthouse is a private and clubby enclave of secret meetings in which no public dissent is tolerated, they…..meet……in……a……private…….room…….of……a…..restaurant…….IN SECRET.
Invitation only and Rumpole need not apply.
Well, we can think of many other individuals we would rather break bread with. And knowing the Judiciary’s penchant for drinking on someone else’s tab, we can think of better things we can do with our money. Still, if Jordana Mishory wanted to share an Apple Martini and scintillating conversation with soon to be former Chief Judge Dale Ross, why shouldn’t she be able to do so?
We repeat our oft heard lament: It’s just not fair that our friends to the North have such easy targets to write about. We publicly call upon our own dear robed readers for one of them to protect the honor of Dade and step up to the plate and do something stupid. Quickly.
See You In Court, where it’s boring these days and none of our Judges has managed to put their foot in their mouth recently. But we have hopes.