Probably the craziest thing I do on this blog, and the thing most likely to get me disbarred, is openly criticize judges. A couple friends and family members have wondered at some of the things I’ve written, and wondered if I wasn’t scared that a judge might read them. Despite the modest readership of this blog indicated by sitemeter, a couple local attorneys have randomly mentioned to me that they read the blog, and complimented me on it. I have to assume it’s likely that others in the local legal community, including possibly some judges I appear before, have read it, and aren’t amused. This realization no doubt contributes to the generalized sense of estrangement and alienation I noted in my previous post.
But this is a prime instance where I’m aware that I’m saying something that might be viewed as controversial and even “crazy” but which appears to me incontrovertible and clear as day. I believe in, more than I believe in anything else in the law, the presumption of innocence, and I extend that presumption of innocence even to judges and prosecutors. I have learned to hate the State, but the State is a big Nothing. I try very hard not to hate people. I don’t imagine myself to be purer or holier than anybody. I’ve worked for the State in the past, including but not limited to six years in the military, and even now in family law cases I regularly ask the State to positively intervene on behalf of my clients. If somebody burglarized my house I would call the cops and make a report.
I believe in the presumption of innocence, and I believe that presumption should apply equally to all people. What I object to is the judiciary’s attempts to confer upon itself what amounts to a heightened presumption of innocence, and specifically, a presumption that their judgments are innocent, just, lawful and honorable. (If anything, as Vincent Bugliosi, who is widely regarded as a poster boy for the State, has explained, common sense would seem to diminish rather than heighten the presumption of innocence in the case of judges.) Judgments, and particularly judgments from which violence and incarceration issue, are not entitled to a presumption of innocence.
I wonder about Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, who are all Roman Catholic, and whose God has commanded them to “Judge not, lest you be judged,” but whose Constitution has apparently recently told them (and Justice Kagan), but not three of their fellow Justices, to send a probably innocent grandmother back to prison indefinitely. I wonder if they really believe in their heart of hearts that on Judgment Day their Constitution will save them.
Jeff Gamso today honors an Honorable judge.
But if you think that judges as a class are higher as well as mightier than the rest of us, then behold this Texas family law judge administering “justice” to his own daughter: