In any event, in a decision that spilled on to the comments section of this blog for the past few posts, Judge Soto chose veteran Judges Betty Butchko and Will Thomas to fill two open spots in the complex division. Many of the comments opined that Judge Hanzman should have been selected. Judge Hanzman did indeed apply. A very successful litigator in private practice, Judge Hanzman joined the bench for all the right reasons and spent a considerable amount of time in what we consider to be THE toughest assignment for a circuit court judge: Dependency Court.
When Judge Hanzman was not selected for the complex business section, he asked to come to criminal court. His request was granted and we in the REGJB will be welcoming a premiere jurist and former top-notch litigator in 2017.
At some point during the comments, there were some misguided comments about Judge Hanzman's race, an issue that should not really occupy any important discussion. That being said, Judge Hanzman, who is caucasian, was thought to be African-American by some commentators. Eventually, Judge Hanzman had enough and posted this comment last week. His handling of the race issue was perfect- a humorous dismissal:
This is Judge Hanzman. Please stop posting about business court. The Chief Judge picked two outstanding Judges who have been there longer than I have and who will do a great job. I practiced civil law my entire career and one of my goals in leaving and going on bench was to learn other areas and be exposed to different parts of our community. That is why I stayed in dependency for almost 5 years. And while I have enjoyed civil I never practiced or judged a criminal case and thought it would be an interesting new assignment. One of the benefits of our court system is the ability of Judges to be exposed to different areas of the law and this is an area I've never been exposed to. And because i have always aspired to be Federal Judge- and am considering applying- Judges who i admire and respect advised me that I should round out my experience by doing some criminal work. That is why I decided to transfer. And while i would have welcomed the opportunity to serve on our expanded business court the Chief Judge had many qualified applicants and made the choice she felt was best for the court. Her job is VERY difficult and often thankless and she does not deserve to be insulted for doing public service and working everyday to try and serve our system. If any bloggers feel they could do better join the court and contribute. Don't bitch from the sidelines. Finally, and as an aside- I'm not African American. Just a short white bald guy.
"Judge Hanzman, get yourself an ipod and download some Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Jay Z, and Snoop Dog. Tune in, chill out, get your groove on, and there might be some hope for your bald-white-ass yet."
"Rumpole, if Hanzman will eat some collard greens, change his Sirius station to some soul, and read The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison as well as some Maya Angelou, then we would welcome him as an honorary brother. "