In this issue
Relevant Social Issues and Such: Mudslinging in Court
Gaudium in Fullosiam, Gaudium Omnibus Quorem Studium
MUDSLINGING IN COURT: Does Name Calling Contribute to A
System of Justice?
Before the Rockaway Park Philosophical Society came the issue
of using the public forum to continue acrimony between a judge and
a lawyer post trial. The Society explores issues deemed
significant to it in a point-counterpoint method. Sometimes that
takes the form of bringing all argument to their logical and
hopefully their ridiculous extreme. The Society hopes that by
exalting the ridiculous and ridiculing the sublime, the search for
truth may be de-mystified.
Herein the Mentor poses a question to the Dean concerning the
appropriateness of indulging the public in private personality
clashes between lawyers and judges.
Greetings Dean and Greetings to Our Lord, the Prince Regent
and Lord President of the Society:
I had occasion to ponder the Dean's words concerning a lawyer's
obligation to refrain from adverse comment on a court or judge.
Notwithstanding protections of free speech guaranteed in various
written constitutions in force in North America, a lawyer, the
Dean would inform us, may not personally criticize in public a
court or judge. Does the obverse that a judge should not publicly
criticize a lawyer, also hold true?
I ask this not out of idle or philosophical interest but
because in a rather significant case involving a renowned
entrepreneur sometimes called by the Society 'The American
Socrates,' a judge in an exclusive interview granted the press
called one of the lawyers stupid. Would this not be a breach of
comity or at least etiquette?
I can see how in appropriate circumstances a judge might be
required to caution a lawyer in the strongest, direct language
privately in chambers or even publicly in open session when need
requires. Is public name calling within the bounds of fair play?
Cheerio, JW Rowe
Greetings Lord Mentor (Mentor_rpps@theglobe.com)
and Greetings Beloved Editor of Inditer Dot Com and Lord
President and Prince Regent of the Society
A 19th century jurist wrote that the relationship between bar
and bench should be one of "mutual respect and admiration." The
legal profession has undergone many changes since those lofty
sentiments were first uttered and in the 25 years since I first
took the oath. On one hand the bar has succumbed to commonality. I
read in Grant De Man's column in Inditer dot com that US Customs
Inspectors now issue licenses to practise law to any Canadian
willing to renounce Elizabeth II and to abide permanently by true
The cost of democratization has been too great. It took the
Clennan family four generations from the time the original
[American] John Clennan left Canada in 1861 to produce their first
All kidding aside, with due respect to our favorite Canadian
author, the legal profession inside the US is not as selective as
once was. Anyone with the cash can find "a Joe's law school" to
When the jurist wrote that the relationship ought to be one of
mutual respect and admiration, the battle was in the courtroom.
The surveillance experienced today much of which can't be told has
added a new dimension to the challenge of law in the 21st century
that wasn't there when the jurist scripted those words or even
when I became a lawyer. How can there be respect among lawyers or
between lawyers and the court when the battle of wits is an
intelligence game rather than a match of intellects?
Parenthetically your remarks do bring to mind a colorful
vignette revolving around one of your audiogrammes overheard by a
person both sides for different reasons ironically code named
"Jane." It might be a funny outcropping of a tale that can't be
Wholly apart from the new dimension of surveillance, the
etiquette, customs and manners of the legal profession have
changed significantly. Once most Judge would not grant interviews
to the press. Those who did limited interviews to general personal
information and philosophy. Generally Judges did not discuss
pending cases or issues which could arise in the future. This
limitation preserved the integrity and independence of the
While as a rule judges of the past did not publicly discuss
handling of a case even to rebuff critics, such is not true today.
Perhaps we might say the old restriction has faded into an old
fashioned courtesy no longer regarded as binding. The independence
of the judiciary may protect a judge from disciple or removal for
untoward public remarks.
Should a judge stoop to mudslinging?
Unfortunately when propriety is lost and legal contest devolve
into ad hominem, respect for the tribunal will vanish and with
that public acceptance of judicial determinations upon which any
system of justice must ultimately rest.
Pro Socio Socorum,
Dean of The Rockaway
Park Philosophical Society
Don Grant Deman: The Canadian O'Henry
Grant DeMan's review of IF ALL MEN WERE ANGELS
appeared in print in The Iconoclast. A regular contributor
to Canada's nationally recognis[z]ed Inditer dot com Press, Grant
Deman continues to grace the art of O'Henry with a Canadian
accent. Read Grant's Cracker Barrel at Inditer dot com.
Loeppky v US
Inditer dot com invites submissions on the Clintons' bloody
legacy in Canada: the continuing public health crisis caused by
the sale of corrupted blood to the Canadian Red Cross.
visit The Inditer.com