Gideon's Trumpet

Gideon: Appellate Decisions Diminish Stature Of Judges

, The Connecticut Law Tribune


"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." So wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1774, foreshadowing his more famous quote about the "inherent and inalienable rights" of men, in the Declaration of Independence.

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What's being said

  • Jan van Eck

    While the author disgruntledly complains that the judges of the Conn. courts have been reduced to mere DMV clerks, checking boxes on forms, it may well be posited that the courts would function better if the judges were removed and replaced by those DMV clerks. After all, if you as judge are going to abandon all substance and stick to Form, who better to judge on Form?

    I think what you will find in the criminal arena at least is wholesale jury refusal to convict, the dreaded "jury nullification." If the defendant is going to be subjected to a stripping of constitutional guarantees, then the value of a trial is also dispensed with. The public will hold its nose and toss the trial.

  • Louis Kiefer

    As Guardians of Justice, the appellate courts have, at least in family matters, become rubber stamps for all but the most outrageous cases. The concept of abuse of discretion permits injustices to stand, family relationships to be permanent severed; unrealistic alimony, support and property orders to remain.
    "Best interest" has yet to be defined, except to the extent the trial judge exercises discretion. The appellate courts shy away from providing guidance for alimony or even setting standards for Guardians at litem. Child support is as determined by the Support Guidelines, no matter how mathematically, statistically flawed and logically inconsistent they are.
    There is a revolt by family court consumers which needs to be addressed. The revolt is more than a few disgruntled litigants. There are legitimate concerns by innocent victims of the system.

  • Before judges are granted anything - we must address the rampant problem of open violations of civil rights and due process, blatant disregard for upholding the law, and outright corruption in our court system perpetuated by too many of our judges - especially in our family courts.

    Respect for authority is not automatic - it must be earned and reinforced every day by those we place in positions of responsibility and authority. And when they fail us, they must be removed.

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