Judges with Attitude – Ugh!

The worst part about appearing in court is dealing with judges with attitudes. Unfortunately, it is the sad disposition of man that anytime anyone gets a little bit of power, they abuse that power. Make no mistake about it, a judge is in power. More often then it should be, some judges are sarcastic, inappropriately critical, and condescending from the bench. This is an abuse of power. They were not put there for this. They were put there to judge, to make rulings, to keep order in the judicial system.

Once a judge starts passively or actively insulting or attacking anyone standing before them, they are acting outside their given authority and power. Unfortunately, there is no realistic way to combat this. It is like dealing with a road-raged driver. You can either ignore them and keep driving or give them attention and their rage will increase. Same with a judge. If you respond to their abuse of power actions, they get more irate, more sarcastic, more insulting, from the bench.

How to behave when before a judge giving attitude:

Courtroom decorum is all about keeping an even keel, win or lose. A professional cool response to all situations. Be flexible while staying focus on what you planned to do before you entered the courtroom. Remember, the judge is not always right and you have the right to be heard. Whether or not what you say makes a difference in ultimate resolution of your case, rest assured that your demeanor always makes a difference in how you are respected but the court and the court staff. Having a good reputation under fire is like gold. It opens doors that you may not have known existed.

On the other hand, if you are only going to be in court one time for your traffic ticket, then, how you act does not really matter, except for your personal integrity, and who you represent, and what kind of society you want, and what kind of example you set. Hopefully the idea is clear.

Kindness begins with you. Your example affects society. Let me explain. If the first person heard in court misbehaves, is rude or boisterous, it can be contagious. This is similar to when someone yawns. The person that observes the yawn will then yawn. So your behavior matters.

Next, you want to keep your integrity. Once I observed a man threaten to kill a police officer in court. The judge and bailiff (guy with the gun) stood by and listened. They were allowing the situation to de-escalate. It didn’t. (However, it usually does so it is worth the attempt.) The man was the defendant. The reason the man threatened the police officer with foul language, yelling, and “If I see you on the street, I’m going to kill you” was because the police officer used racial slurs against the defendant at the time the traffic ticket was issued. The police officer told the man to “Go back to where you came from. You do not belong in this town. Take all of your [race/national origin] family with you.”

This situation shows a judge without attitude. It goes both way. Here, the man had attitude. He should have first considered his own integrity, his own self-respect, and the family and God he represented. No matter how upsetting a situation, the courtroom is not the place to threaten someone. The ultimate resolution of this man’s case was not affected by his behavior only because the judge in this courtroom was good, able to sift through what mattered for the original charge. However, the man did have to deal with a few bailiffs before leaving that day.

In summary, not matter what someone else does, even a judge, it is best to keep your cool, follow your plan, and demonstrate self-restraint.

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