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Judge Dread

edited January 2007 in Politics
This senior judge program is really unjust: Henry Weber was pretty smart, but he was a real jerk. I saw him in traffic court one time just tear up an old guy who didn't have a lawyer. Henry cross examined the old guy like he was a law professor. "So you didn't have insurance did you? Did you pay on time? Did you keep records? Why didn't you? Didn't you know it was important?" and on and on. That's fine for a younger person or a lawyer, but this guy was so old he couldn't barely even hear. For Henry to take the time out of traffic ourt to just ream this old guy out was simply mean. It was so bad that people in court were uncomfortably shifting around and murmuring against Henry. What an ass.

Then he lost the next election. He had enough time in to qualify for the Senior Judge Program, so a few months later he started showing up as senior judge. So even though the voters voted him out he was still there - with a twist. Before the election, he was the judge of one division of district court. After he lost and became a senior judge, he would show up in district court, circuit court, and family court. You couldn't predict where he would show up. I complained to nearly anyone who would listen, and they would say, "Well, he's a senior judge now." When I said that I didn't think it was fair, they just shrugged their shoulders.

Now Paula was (and still is) bat-shit crazy, but she was very polite. Even so, no one liked her, partly because you could never predict what she would do, but mostly because she was so SLOW. Even though Henry was an ass, he was fast and predictable. As a defense attorney, you could predict that he would rule against you unless you had the prophet Elijah show up as a witness, and sometimes he would rule against you even then. The prosecutors hate Paula's unpredictability factor because they never want any trouble ramming things through, and everyone else hates her because they want to get in and out as soon as possible, so NOW it's a problem that someone who lost an election became a senior judge.

Funny story about Paula and me: One time she was judge in nonsupport court. I had a guy who was set for a probable cause hearing, but he was in another state for National Guard training. I didn't think there would be any trouble getting another date, but Paula issued a bench warrant after some heated exchanges. I was so mad I slammed the door on my way out of the courtroom. About an hour later, I got a call on my cell phone. It was Paula. She said, "I appreciate a passionate defense Mr. Render, but I don't think it was appropriate for you to damage the wall on your way out. I won't hold you in contempt, but I think you should pay for repairs to the wall." The door actually crushed in a little hole in the wall. Ponying up for repair was better than going to jail. Henry would have had me in jail immediately.

So Paula was bad, but she lost her election to Annette Karem. Annette was a domestic violence prosecutor and truthfully, there's no use in paying an attorney if you're gonna appear before her because her attitude will be that no defendant will ever be right about any issue. Ever. That might be a slight overstatement, but a very slight one.
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