Wednesday December 18, 2013
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I'm sure that anyone who reads the forum regularly is well aware of the number of times I have taken a swipe at some judge, but if you go back and read each of those posts you'll soon see that the reason was the bungling of some very simple Constitutional issue, like the case in Tennessee in which a child support magistrate ordered —yes ordered! — a couple to change the name of their child because they had chosen the name Messiah for their 7 month old son.
The judge in that case actually said, "Messiah is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ."
How could anyone be so dense as not to know that such a court order is in direct contravention of the First Amendment? I mean anyone, much less a judge?
I was going to post a string on that, but I'll let this mention of it suffice for the moment. The court order was, of course, overturned.
Anyway, having read about the confrontation between Judge Cahill and one of the County Prosecutors I haven't the slightest doubt that Judge Cahill was quite correct in charging the prosecutor with contempt of court. The man walked out of court! How can you do that? If that's not contempt, what is?
The issue? As I read Arizona law — on which I am by no means an expert, of course — Judge Cahill was right when he decided that the same expert witness who had evaluated a defendant to see if he was competent to stand trial could also evaluate him to see if he was legally sane at the time he committed the crime.
First of all, as I read the law the court is not bound to supply a separate expert; it just "may" do so if it chooses. Also, who would know more about, and be better able to judge the sanity of, a defendant than someone who is already well acquainted with him and his case.
The prosecutor wanted to delay the case, which had already been delayed a year, so that he could hire some specific expert. In essence, Judge Cahill — quite wisely I believe — said (I am paraphrasing) that justice delayed is justice denied.
Minutes later the prosecutor got up saying, “I’m out! I’m out! I’m out!” And he walked out of the court!
What kind of behavior is that? He is supposed to be an officer of the court, someone well trained concerning court decorum.
Because Judge Cahill is often involved in cases that make the Roundup, we have many opportunities to see how he handles his court. Personally, I think he does very well.
The prosecutor has apologized and Judge Cahill has withdrawn the contempt charge. That's fine with me. That's what judges are supposed to do: Apply their best judgment.
There's something more I'd like to talk about, but I'll wait until I hear what you have to say about this.
Tom, I served on a jury that was held in Judge Cahill's courtroom. The trial lasted for 5 days. During that trial I noted the manner in which Judge Cahill oversaw the proceedings. He was always courteous, organized and in charge of the proceedings. Extrapolating from my observations, it appears that the D.A. acted like a ill-mannered child and should have been declared to be in contempt. A "professional" ought to know how and when to express disagreement with a judge. In part, that is what appeals are for. It is too bad that the good judge could not order spankings :)
I agree with you, John. From everything I have heard about Judge Cahill he runs and ideal courtroom. I'll tell you this much: If i ever managed to do something for which I had to go to trial, and he was the judge, there would be no jury, no posturing for the jury, and no method acting. I would elect to testify, tell the truth about whatever the charge was, make my case if I thought I was innocent, and be happy to place my fate in the hands of someone who knows and respects the law.
I mentioned in my first post that I was going to comment on the "Messiah" child case, so i will. I was shocked out of my mind to hear a judge make such a ruling. I just could not believe that anyone who was placed in position where he or she was going to make decisions that could affect the rest of someone's life could be so completely ignorant of the most basic of all our laws: The First Amendment.
That judge seems to know nothing. What would she have done if one of the many people I have know who was named Jesus came before her? Or Muhammed? Jesus is the 100th most popular male name in this country, and even Messiah is not unknown; it is. in fact, the 387th most popular name and Muhammed is number 467. I didn't know that, of course, and in looking it up I was happy to note that Adolph didn't make the cut into the 1,000th most popular list kept by Social Security.
Here's what all this makes me wonder: Should there be some kind of test of basic law, and most especially of basic Constitutional law required for anyone who wishes to become a judge of any kind? And are there any such tests in any states? (I don't know.) I am not saying that a judge need have a law degree; I don't know enough about such things to voice an opinion.
I have to disagree about Judge Cahill. I have walked out of his court twice and he didn't do anything because he knew he was wrong both times.
He does not like to come to Payson. Seems he thinks it is beneath him to come to our little court room. Everyone should have to drive to Globe.
"I have walked out of his court twice and he didn't do anything because he knew he was wrong both times."
Pat, in a sense that makes my point. He strikes me as a person who exercises his powers with care and thought.
Many long years ago, purely by chance because I was not personally involved but just happened to be sitting in a courtroom, I had a chance to observe the opposite. And I occasionally read something very different in the news as I scan for stories we might enjoy discussing. It's not pleasant to see how some judges abuse their powers. I suppose it's a job that can wear you down, but I don't think that excuses some of things I've read.
Here's something off the point, but kind of interesting (to me anyway).
Mom always told me that I was named after a judge. She always said, "Tom Garrett," and I assumed that she meant "Thomas." Just the other day I was delving through the 1940 census for Staten Island where I was born, when I got an idea. I knew that the 1940 telephone books for the five boroughs of New York City were available online, so I thought I'd see which of the people in my old neighborhood had a phone number and which didn't. I also went looking for my aunts and uncles and anyone with Garrett as his last name. Lo and behold! There was judge Tom Garrett, not Thomas, Tom! So I guess Mom meant what she said.
You never know, do you?
I'm a special case, by the way, the youngest of four boys in a family where the father died when he was five and his next oldest brother lived away from the family for 12 years from age 4 to 16. The result was that I remember nothing of Daddy, and when I was in kindergarten, for example, Mom was 41 and Frank and Bill were in their late teens. So everyone apparently "protected" poor little Tommy. Then I went off for 23 years and only saw the family once every three or four years, and when I retired it wasn't near anyone else.
The result? I know close to nothing about those early years. And everyone is gone now, so all I can do is search the net.
I keep on learning things, some of them very surprising. Without the net I'd have died without a clue.
Yeah Tom, he exercised his power and cost us over $30,000. and let a person go that forged my dads name on some of his checks. She was being paid to be a home care person for my dad. Cashed one at Basha's for over $700.00. We could not cash his checks at Basha's for quite a while until we went to the bank and explained to them and proved the checks were forged. But the court didn't do a thing. Let her go with a big smile.
Pat, that sounds terrible!
Judge Cahill in both cases.
Perhaps what we need is a return of private prosecutions. Most people don't know it, but right through the end of the 1800's we still had private prosecutions at the state level in the United States and they still exist in Virginia and either North or South Carolina.
In England, France, Australia, Canada, and several other countries they still exist. You do not have to wait on some public prosecutor to act; you can do it yourself. All you have to do is gather the evidence, take it to a justice of the peace, let him check it to see that there is sufficient evidence, and that's that. I don't remember the name of the case, but some %$#@! case or other had a verdict that said we no longer gad the right to do that.
Maybe it's something that needs to be brought back.
It was only for criminal cases, by the way, not civil cases. And you did not have to bear the costs. Plus which, there were prosecution groups that stood behind you and would provide help.
It's another thing like recall, referendum, and initiative that keeps the some of the power in the hands of the people. As a matter of fact, it might just be possible to use an initiative to restore it it Arizona, put it right into the state constitution where it would be safe from interference. Interesting thought, isn't it?
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