UPDATE: AND THE SIGNS ARE DOWN. Well done Judge, Well done indeed.
While many who wear black robes may disagree, judges aren't perfect. But they need to strive to be. The measure of a judge is not that they may make an (innocent-pun intended) mistake, but whether they are intelligent and honest enough to admit it and correct it.
Coming soon (maybe) (New Judge) bans defense attorneys from trials. Says they "just slow down the process."
There's something about new judges that causes them to lose common sense.
Some new judges decide that by picking juries at 8pm and forcing attorneys to do opening statements at midnight will somehow give them a good reputation.
For many new judges there is something irresistible about banning people from their courtroom. They just love to do it.
And for those judges who love to ban people from their courtroom, children are their top targets. Why these judges are so offended by a child entering a courtroom is beyond us. But as sure as fall follows summer, some new judge will take the bench and start littering the doors of their courtroom with signs banning all sorts of people.
Of course, it's against the law. Florida courtrooms are open to all and can only be closed after following a specific procedure that requires, inter alia, notice to the media.
So it comes as no surprise that some new judge has done it again. This time, it's the denizen of 2-10.
Before we make a BIG BIG issue of this, we ask one of two things: either the judge explain to us via email why they feel they have the right to ban any particular class of people from a courtroom in the State of Florida and the United States of America? We promise to print the email unedited, including any curse words, if they send it.
Or they can make life easy and take the stupid signs down.
If anyone wants to take their children to any courtroom in the State of Florida and have them observe proceedings, they have an almost absolute right to do so. And of course, such a block-headed sign shows absolutely no understanding for the defendant who is a single parent of say a two month old infant and has no access to child care and has a notice to appear for an arraignment.
Why punish children? Why punish parents of children? And why, when we already live in a society where the president attacks the rights of news media to question public officials, does a judge turn a courtroom- a sacred place of liberty and justice- into a place of fear, where children are banned?
At least once a month we are approached by someone in a hallway who timidly asks us if they are allowed in a courtroom? We respond: "This is the United States of America- of course you can go into any courtroom you want."
Except now there is one judge who wants to make sure a child doesn't dare enter their little fiefdom.
So, do you really want to be known as a judge who bans children? A judge who builds a proverbial wall excluding the best, the most innocent, and most precious parts of our society from a hallowed place of justice?
Really Judge? You want to be known as the "child-banning" judge?
We see so many judges take time to welcome children into their courtroom and make them feel at home. Former Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom lined the walls of her courtroom with pictures children had drawn of what justice meant to them. No wonder Judge Bloom is now a federal judge. Perhaps you could speak to some of your colleagues, or a therapist, and identify where this anger (or fear) of a small child comes from?
Because the sign bespeaks of an authoritarian bent where the courtroom belongs to you and not the public. And we all know that is not true.
From Occupied America, where we love children, Fight the Power.
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