A TALE OF TWO TYPES OF JUDGES

There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re reading this blog, at one time or another you came in contact with a courtroom. If you lost your case, the experience may have felt awful. If you won your case after litigating for years and years the experience may have been worse.
In any event, of the three branches of government, the branch that seems to be shrouded in secrecy more than the other two, is the judicial branch. Think about it. Members of the legislative branch are out in public almost all the time. They have to be because they are always out there trying to raise money for the next campaign. Many members of the Executive Branch of government are also elected officials who live and breathe on public appearances and speeches. On the other hand, when it comes to the judicial branch, you never see judges making public appearances and discussing hot political topics. They never give interviews on the radio or on TV. The United States Supreme Court still won’t allow cameras in the courtroom. In fact, before you get to the courtroom, you’ve probably never met the judge who is going to preside over your case, have any knowledge about what makes them tick, what their prior experience is and why they do what they do. Until now.
If you didn’t come to our Night Out With The Judges event this week — kick yourself. Twice. Broward County Judges Jose Izquierdo, Olga Levine, Fabienne Fahnestock, Alan Marks, Robert Lee, Jennifer Hilal and Al Ribas thoroughly engaged the audience at a truly unique event where the community got to call them to the witness stand, made them answer questions about what they do and why they do it and afterwards sat and had coffee and cake and mingled with the people over whom they typically judge. It was awesome!
Going to court can be scary, confusing and nerve wracking. Yes, even for the attorneys. This event however, was the complete and total opposite. It gave the community a chance to meet, discuss and learn from judges who made it clear that they have a passion and commitment to give back to the community and who repeatedly made it clear that they are public servants who work for the people in the audience and that their courtroom was not their courtroom at all. Instead, it was theirs.
The next time we advertise one of these events. Take my word for it and attend. I want to thank all of the judges who participated and assure them that the community they serve appreciated their attendance. And for once I attended a seminar where I didn’t have to talk for three hours.
After I wrote this blog and we met Broward’s best, the news broke about a very unfortunate experience between a judge in Broward County and a 59 year old female defendant in a wheel chair, Sandra Twiggs, suffering from asthma and chronic lung disease. As you will see in the video, the woman was simply berated by the court, humiliated and embarrassed for no reason whatsoever. She died two days after he hearing. The video is absolutely shocking The dichotomy in demeanor between the judges I hosted and the judge who is on the bench in this video is striking. That is why today Judge Merrilee Ehrlich finds herself without a job and won’t be on the bench any longer, as Broward’s Chief Judge Jack Tuter won’t let her sit there. Obviously, the right decision. I just wish it happened before Sandra Twiggs got the chance to meet her.

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