Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A closed mind; a closed heart.

I often write about how you must know as much as possible about the Judge who will decide your fate.  It is important for your attorney to have face time with that Judge.  It is important for your attorney to have a history with that Judge.  But this knowledge doesn't just come from being pro-active and engaged in events close to the judiciary, this knowledge also comes from the school of hard knocks, the school of unfortunate results.  Lessons learned the hard way.  Losses that were unforeseen.

Some time back I tried a case as good as a case can be tried.  My trial team left no effort in the war room; everything was spent on the court room floor.  We had uncovered the opposing party's hidden bank accounts, stolen property, misappropriated business and malicious scheming of the highest order.  We had documents condemning her by her own hand.  We had testimony from those who knew her best and outed her lies in the clearest terms.  We had photographs irrefutably proving her perjury on every level.

The opposition "phoned in" their case.  They conducted no investigation.  They provided little discovery.  They made a paltry effort.  Their case consisted of the most base innuendo, mere suggestions, nothing that would constitute proof in any serious court of law.  Their accusations were easily dis-proven by hard evidence, the veracity of which even they eventually had to concede.

But the trial judge hammered us.  The judge decided the case based upon bias and bias alone.  As I was told from the bench, "These people lie.  It's what they do."  "These people," are originally from another nation.  Theirs is a nation that has a perceptibly high percentage of people who engage in fraud.  But, for example, if you knew that more people per capita from Ukraine sped than from any other nation, a judge should not find a Ukrainian guilty of speeding without some evidence of the crime committed.  "Sir, your countrymen speed, therefore you sped."  That is not allowed.  That is not good judging.  That is not American Justice.

But I learned.  This judge has a bias streak a mile wide and a fathom deep. This judge had a closed mind and a closed heart. Evidence doesn't enter into it.  Don't bring a client from a perceived discredited population before this judge and expect the evidence to control the outcome.  Now I counsel my clients who fit that bill to use another method to resolve their matter if justice is what they seek.

Lesson learned the hard way.  And as you can probably tell, I'm still not over it. I always demand Justice, America style whether the judge will give it to me or not.  And given the reality I learned in that court room, I won't let another client climb that sacrificial alter to judicial bias.

Know your judge, open mind, closed mind or indifferent mind.  It can't help but improve the outcome.

Michael Manely

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