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Integrity of Judges and their decisions

I wish to state in the beginning that I have the highest regard for those who devote their lives to serve the public as judges.  Our court system is a good one but sometimes it appears that justice may not have been served by decisions that have been made.  The amount of information to which a judge is subjected and the laws involved with various cases is enormous.  Though some decisions by judges at any level may not be well liked, it is the system by which those judges base their decisions that may come into question.  There can be cases where decisions seem wrong.  Sometimes judges make decisions when others could have been made.  Other times decisions are made where there may not have been much basis or other precedents have been established.

Judges must not insert their own opinion into their decisions, however if a decision involves the safety of the public this must be considered before a decision is rendered.  This article is about conditions within our court system that needs to be reviewed and/or improved to reduce or eliminate inadequate information on which judges make their decisions.  While some judges may routinely have their decisions questioned, I believe that most judges have a high degree of purpose and take their responsibilities seriously.

Integrity of judges and their decisions must be in place if we are to have justice.

Many times there are decisions made with which we may not understand and with which we do not agree.  This would not necessarily be a signal that integrity does not exist.  There are hundreds if not thousands of judges at all levels of government with a wide range of responsibilities.  Our system of law requires that individuals on trial or those that bring court proceedings receive a just review and decision.  For those involved in a trial the proceedings must be fair and just among other requirements that exist.  It is important that those individuals involved with trial proceedings perform their responsibilities with integrity.

Judges handle a wide variety of court cases and the laws that apply to them.  It is important that judges have the support to help them with the decisions that they must make.  While it is not necessarily within a position description of a prosecutor, prosecutors must be well prepared and have all applicable information present including information for possible technicalities.  If there are any precedents that may apply in a case the prosecutor should be aware of this and bring it to the attention of the judge and/or jury.  This will help a judge or jury make their appropriate decisions on cases before them.  If a prosecutor does not prepare for technicalities in a case it can and will affect the decision made by the judge or jury as applicable.  Decisions by judges and/or juries reflect upon the work of the prosecutor in a case.  If a case or a criminal is dismissed, it may reflect upon the work of the prosecutor.   Prosecutors in cases that are dismissed may have done everything humanly possible to prepare their case.  If they have not they have failed to properly prepare and support the court proceedings.

If there are requirements that must be met to assure a fair trial for any defendant it is up to the prosecutor to make sure those requirements are accomplished.  One such requirement in recent days was the lack of an interpreter for a trial.  The judge dismissed the case since it was felt that the defendant could not understand the charges against him.

Again the event identified above and others that cause cases to be dismissed on technicalities must be corrected.  While a fair trial is important, I feel that any technicalities that may surface in court proceedings should be addressed before a case goes to trial.  Those on trial should not be provided an out based on technical requirements not being met.  While technicalities in some cases may have prevented innocent people being put on trial it may also allow those that are guilty to go free.  When cases are dismissed a decision has not been made on the guilty or innocence of defendants.  Again decisions made involving the dismissal of a case is not a reflection upon the judge who makes them but on the preparation of the case by prosecutors.  It must be stated that defendants in any case that is dismissed should not be looked upon as guilty.

Requirements of our society for a fair and just court proceeding includes the need for people to understand the proceedings.  Our court system must make all the preparation necessary for a case to be taken to trial.  If there is a possibility for the need of an interpreter the prosecution should make arrangements prior to presenting a case before a judge in a court room.  I am not going to discuss the need for all citizens to understand court proceedings and the language that is normally used as it is not the purpose of this article.  Those that are on trial create another expense and an additional duty of prosecutors and their offices in finding interpreters to help people understand any charges against them.  While it is sometimes necessary for interpreters to be available, it must be proven that one is required.  If a person can routinely speak to others in English they should not be able to use the excuse that they do not understand what is going on.




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Dennis AuBuchon

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