The legal blogosphere has had their say on the Rebull transcript and we have refrained from opining. Now it is our turn.
Everyone has a bad day. We have had the best judges make grievous mistakes, and we have seen bad judges rise to the occasion and do something great. No one judge or lawyer or person should be fully "judged" on one act. For those judges who sentence defendants, take that last sentence as a hint. No one should be solely judged on a bad moment or day.
Disclosure: we had a case that resolved very favorably before Judge Rebull. Our experience with him is limited, but we were asked to assist on a very serious matter. We had heard the rumors and the chatter- he was tough on defendants. Our experience was that he was fair in the case we handled.
The cold transcript is bad for the Judge. Not his finest hour. His treatment of the daughter of the litigant is awful. Having told her to assist, it is as if he trapped her when he asked if she was an attorney. One reads that portion of the transcript and wonders "what was he thinking?"
But much like the Miami Herald's lukewarm endorsement of our State Attorney, we are not willing to write off Judge Rebull. First and foremost he should personally apologize to the woman and her father.
He will hopefully learn from this episode and become a better Judge. We hope he cares about his profession and the people who appear before him to the extent that he will rededicate himself to be more patient and more compassionate and more empathetic.
We are going to vote for Judge Rebull. Perhaps it is evidence of our going soft in our older age. The rampaging Rumpole circa 2012 would have never tolerated such behavior, and we certainly admit we would have no patience for this if it had occurred north of the border (Broward). Indeed, the very worst we can say about this incident is that it was "very Broward like".
But unlike many of our robed readers, we have patience and compassion and we endeavor to see the best and not the worst in people. And having seen Judge Rebull at his best, we are not wont to accept him at his worst.