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Question:

1.How would you describe this judge’s ability to be neutral, principled and consistent?

2.How would you describe this judge’s respect for people and their rights?

3.How would you describe this judge’s skill at providing the participants a voice in the proceedings?

4. If you were to appear before this judge as a litigant, would you have confidence that this judge would treat you fairly? Why or why not?

 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

The court process involves many parties but the buck stops with the judge. The judge is tasked to ensure that process in the court is adhered to while maintaining courtroom respect as well as consistency , neutrality and principle. After observing several courtroom sessions in the Downing Centre, there is a lot that I learnt with regards to court mannerisms and how it affects the trial process in its entirety. Procedural justice ensures that fairness, confidence and trust are brought back into the court system. Procedural justice was explained by (De Smith and Woolf, 2013) in an article titled procedural justice and courts. Being one of the busiest courts in the region, The Downing Centre may be faced with numerous challenges including backlog of cases, consequently, the process may be tampered with. One of the ways of influencing and tampering with the system include conniving with court officials for example, judges to get a favorable judgment.

How would you describe this judge’s ability to be neutral, principled and consistent?

In those diverse dates, I had the privilege of being in court presided by Judge Mahoney SC DCJ court number 4 in the Downing Centre.  The case being handled was ( R V Jacob Bradley of 2017) , the case has four hearing dates namely the 2nd,9th,17th and 28th February 2017. The judge heard this matter solely and I could notice that he had a natural demeanor; he maintained an impartial environment in the court by putting on a fair expression that was not revealing.  Throughout the court session, the judge ensured that information about the case was clearly explained by asking questions for both himself and the parties (Auburn et al., 2013). This was to ensure that he got clarity on the case and the information that was being provided.  Further, in the last day of the court, he fully explained his judgment in detail which ensured that the language was understandable by all the parties involved.

How would you describe this judge’s respect for people and their rights?

A just and fair litigation occurs when the parties involved are allowed to argue and state their case.  This can be done through providing of witnesses in court and also providing evidence and documents to support the party’s position.  The accused defence was that he was suffering from somnambulism and the judge was fair because he allowed the accused to table their evidence same as the police and the crown.  By law, a person is innocent until he is proven guilty and the judge reminded the parties that burden of proof lied with the crown and the police.  The time offered for both parties to be heard was sufficient even though the hearing days were few. This clearly shows that the judge was respectful for people and their rights.

 

How would you describe this judge’s skill at providing the participants a voice in the proceedings?

The administration of justice requires that there is appearance of impartiality and also reality.  The judge showed the virtue of patience throughout the entire process of the trial.  He allowed all sides to be heard, while he still allowed the court process and protocol to be followed (Reynolds, 2003).  The judge was skilful in delivering judgement by providing a judgement that was well detailed with evidence and issues raised by the two parties throughout the entire court process.  The judge can be described as impartial and consistent with his skill clearly shown by a well written judgement. Another way Judge Mahoney gave participants a voice was by ensuring that they had ample time to present their issues in court.  He also asked questions to the parties to understand better the situation (West, 2010).

If you were to appear before this judge as a litigant, would you have confidence that this judge would treat you fairly? Why or why not?

 When a judge is unapproachable and hostile, it shows that a judge is not fair and one may not expect a fair judgement. However, in this case, I have confidence in this judge would treat us fairly because of the way he handled matters during the hearing of the case. He allowed both parties to be heard, they were also allowed to provide evidence for their defence (Gloppen, Gargarella and Skaar, 2004). Judge Mahoney’s impartiality and patience throughout the trial process inspires confidence for anybody going before this judge and expects fair judgement.  The judge was fair, committed to his work and allowed protocol to prevail. Also, the short time taken by the judge to deliver his statement showed work ethic and commitment which also inspires confidence (Blackwell, 2010).

Like any other party in the trial process, a judge should display high level of respect to the judicial process and its outcome.  A judge should not be feared and is expected to be impartial, consistent and principled. Throughout my observation, I am happy to report that Judge Mahoney demonstrated all these characters.

The Constitution provides that the judge must be qualified and excellent. The need for impartiality and independence is also highlighted in the constitution. Therefore, according to the fundamental text, the judge must be (i) suitable, (ii) excellent, (iii) impartial and (iv) independent. The suitability and excellence are specified in academic or intellectual conditions and in personal and moral values, respectively. Impartiality and independence are translated into these same personal values, but also in the vocation and courage of the judge, which is required so that he can face the pressures of people or groups of power (Bell-Rehwoldt, 2005). The judge, in fact, must have the knowledge scientist that requires the correct execution of legal science, the action of judging is the concretion of a function of the State that implies nothing else than the application of the right for the solution of the controversies between individuals, or between these and the State, in the observance of the legal system that this creates through laws to guarantee the public interest in all its different manifestations, the main ones, the public order (safety, tranquility, health, urban and environmental order, among others) and the respect of the rights fundamental human beings (life, human dignity, freedom, property, education, health, social security, also, among others). Knowledge requires study, but equally intelligence (Bell-Rehwoldt, 2005).

The judge who knows but is not aware of his role and makes a misguided or deviant use of knowledge lacks the emotional intelligence and honesty required by the position. Suitability, on the other hand, refers to a series of values ??and principles of conduct that should characterize the judge, to ensure that their action will be specified in the true administration of justice (Dempsey, 2009). Who occupies the judicial function must undoubtedly be a proven person and proven honesty (Holtz, 2009). It has been considered that these characteristics are even more important than knowledge, to the point that in times past there was no need to be a lawyer to be a judge. Who does not prefer a judge who is good but ignorant, than a well-versed but evil one?

Socrates said that The judge should have four characteristics: • Listen politely, respond wisely, weigh prudently and decide impartially. From them we have been able to verify that the first one is a mere social form, because the judge can listen politely and pretend that he attends to the arguments when it is certain that no interest deserves him if his decision will not be based on the facts and the application of the norm but in reasons unrelated to the administration of justice. The other three are indispensable for the attainment of justice (Berk-Seligson, 2017). Impartiality and independence are associated with the vocation of the judge, which is like any vocation, independent of knowledge. In the case of the judge, it implies having the condition to conduct oneself with serenity and consideration, to resolve the situation that is posed with emotional balance and with the sole purpose of enforcing justice.

The judge certainly has the power to judge the acts of men; it has the authority to grant them freedom or take it away, for days, months and years; It has the power to grant or remove assets, the authority to confer a status or affect the most important personal relationships of the human being, such as family (Hockett, 2009). The consequences of the trial of the earthly judge are not as fundamental as those of God, but it has the power to affect the lives of people and their families in an essential way in this world. Therefore the judge must act with dignity and honor. But above all the judge must be courageous, must have the courage to make his decisions only in accordance with the conviction that he is acting in accordance with the law and a solution based on justice, with courage not to be influenced by external factors of power, by privileges or retaliation, or any other motivation outside the realization of justice. The judge must be a “free being” and love freedom and well-being, both his own and that of his fellows, only so he can judge with equanimity (Schuster and Propen, 2011).

As a human being, the judge must only render an account before his own conscience, as a public servant he will also have to do it before the law, and as a being that transcends, before divine justice. The judge who fails to fulfill his duties, therefore, will respond in this world before himself and before his own justice that he has refused to impart. On the other hand, justice must always be accompanied by piety, therefore the judge must be a pious person.

 

References

Auburn, J., Moffett, J., Sharland, A., Demetriou, M. and McManus, R. (2013). Judicial review. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bell-Rehwoldt, S. (2005). Law. Detroit: Lucent Books.

Berk-Seligson, S. (2017). Bilingual Courtroom. [Place of publication not identified]: Univ Of Chicago Press.

Blackwell, A. (2010). Law. New York: Infobase Pub.

Dempsey, D. (2009). Legally speaking. New York: Kaplan Pub.

De Smith, S. and Woolf, H. (2013). De Smith’s judicial review. London: Sweet & Maxwell, Thomson Reuters.

Gloppen, S., Gargarella, R. and Skaar, E. (2004). Democratization and the judiciary.London: F.+ Cass

Hockett, R. (2009). Law. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Holtz, S. (2009). Neo-Babylonian court procedure. Leiden: Brill.

Reynolds, W. (2003). Judicial process in a nutshell. St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West.

Schuster, M. and Propen, A. (2011). Victim advocacy in the courtroom. Boston: Northeastern  University Press.

West, R. (2010). The judge. New York, N.Y.: Open Road Integrated Media.

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