The New Worker-Judges

We admit that now and then we indulge in a teeny bit of imaginative exaggeration to make a point. We never dreamed that we would be overtaken by of all things, our eyeglazing daily trade paper, the New York Law Journal. After decades of staunchly upholding the finest traditions of legal boringness, it’s transformed into a veritable gossip rag about judges. What next? Comic strips? A daily horoscope?

Today’s front page features a color photo of a 66-year-old upstate judge in a superhero costume perched on a motorcycle. The accompanying story isn’t about judicial hobbies or midlife crisis, but about moonlighting for extra pay to meet the prohibitive cost of living in Onondaga County. “I would kill for a $5 plastic trophy,” his Honor explains.

Another rural judge keeps the wolf from his door by coaching basketball, explaining that he “has been careful to keep his temper in encounters with referees to maintain the dignity of his court.” Here is a typical basketball game at Cooperstown High School:

Referee: (blowing whistle) Foul! You can’t just run across the court with the ball, you have to dribble it!

His Honor: Basketball rules are within my within my sound discretion.  They’re not to be applied with mathematical precision.

Referee: What are you, blind?  Did you see what that kid just did? He –

(somebody whispers in Referee’s ear)

Referee: Oh, I see.  Say, Judge, about that traffic ticket –

Judge Pauline Mullings, a criminal court judge in Queens, wasn’t so lucky. The stuffy Office of Court Administration refused permission for her to work as a security guard.  What a missed opportunity for judicial economy! She could arrest shoplifters,  slip a robe over her uniform, and sentence them in no time flat.

This is clearly a significant movement, equivalent to the worker-priests in France. The bar should support them. Next time you’re in court, ask the judge if he or she is available for babysitting or yard work. It’s the least we can do.

About Appellate Squawk

A satirical blog for criminal defense lawyers and their friends who won't give up without a squawk.
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