Tag: freedom

This smells like a frame-up to me

This smells like a frame-up to me: Judge is accused of using sexual language to advise assistant prosecutor on art of direct examination

This feels like entitled and opportunistic attorneys running amok in the name of “sensitivity.” This is a tale of how to ensure men and women will not work together.

Now before anyone goes off on me about my “endorsing” the use of crude language by judges and/or sexual harassment in the workplace, know that I do not (duh).

The point is, however, that free speech isn’t free, if and when you fear that what you say candidly—especially when you mean well—”can and will be used against you.”

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (Evelyn Beatrice Hall)

Even when a judge uses salty language, if a couple of grown women attorneys who seek his opinion and advice—off the record, no less—about how to improve as attorneys but then don’t want to listen to him, then all they had to do was either 1) tell him they don’t want to hear that kind of language and/or 2) get up a leave. But no. That wasn’t enough for these two. No, they had to file an ethics complaint against him. Speech codes (and that’s what these two attorneys were engaging in creating and perpetuating) discourage, if not outright kill, the free flow of ideas and thus impede, if not outright kill, learning and understanding and, ultimately, truth and justice.

“In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth … And that is what you should do … More power to you, as far as I concerned.” (Jordan Peterson)

To be exposed to different and opposing viewpoints is not to accept them. It is to learn of them. Whether they are accepted is up to each of us. And we cannot reject that which we do not learn.

When unpopular speech is punished it is not eliminated, it is merely driven underground and into the shadows where it is harder to identify and understand and where it becomes more subservsive. And when you marginalize and silence what “others” say it won’t be long (it can’t be) before certain things you say are marginalized and silenced as well.

Learning necessarily includes exposure to ideas and means of their expression that are foreign, at times unwelcome, even yes, even absolutely morally and ethically repugnant. Yet, we cannot know all this without being exposed to these ideas. Most importantly, as Galileo, Robert Goddard, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther (both the German and Dr. King), the Founding Fathers, Semmelweis, Judah Folkman, and countless “others” have shown us, we ignore the following at our peril: “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Could this judge have mentored these two attorneys differently? Of course. Does that mean that he commits an ethical violation because he didn’t? No.

To freedom!

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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The bitter truth is better than the sweetest lie.

The bitter truth is better than the sweetest lie.

It was recently reported that a California judge has been censured after commenting on “smoking hot” women, proclaiming that he had the “biggest balls in the courthouse” and making other inappropriate remarks.

So why should you care?

Well, look, I don’t like vulgarity either, but I’d rather a man or woman deal with me as he/she is than play acting at being something he/she ain’t, especially if he/she were my judge holding my fate in his/her hands. We should all aspire to clean language, but more importantly, I want to know who I am really dealing with. I expect it of others, they expect it of me, especially in the legal profession. You don’t have to like the way I (or anyone else) express(es) speech, opinions, or values, but you should appreciate the fact that I (and anyone else) expresses myself/himself/herself honestly and sincerely.

What good is a First Amendment if it doesn’t apply—and liberally apply—to judges too?

And does anyone think that language this judge uses is all that unusual (yes, even for judges)? It’s not. Not even close. I’ve heard some (some, not all) of Utah’s own judges at every level use this same kind of language. It’s not refined, and yes, it can be perceived (rightly or wrongly) as crude, but it’s certainly not something that disqualifies a judge from being a judge!

Judges are regular people (even though some of them may wish to have us believe otherwise). Let judges be who they are! Who they really are. Who they honestly are. I’d much rather a judge show his/her true colors both on and off the bench than adopt one standard in private life and a double standard in public.

Elihu Root was no lout, and even he said (back in in 1912), “About half of the practice of a decent lawyer is telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” And Seneca said, “The bitter truth is better than the sweetest lie.”

Saying “ass” and “balls” and even “smoking hot” certainly isn’t the most tasteful way to behave, but the last thing we go to court seeking is taste; we go to courts seeking truth and justice and equity. A judge who, in private (hell (see what I did there?), even on the bench) says “ass” or “balls” or “don’t act like a scared little girl” doesn’t magically render one unable to render reasoned and just rulings–let’s concern ourselves with that, damn it.


Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Why aren’t a last will and testament mandated by law?

Because everything the government must mandate by law the government must administer, and that necessitates spending money to create and maintain bureaucracies, and that necessitates imposing taxes, and that necessitates angering voters needlessly.

Nobody likes the government telling them to spend money on things they don’t want. If you don’t want a last will and testament, but the government were to require you to have one, then you’d either have to go to (and pay) a lawyer to help you prepare one or go to LegalZoom and pay money for something that you don’t want and that you will likely make such a mess of it that it’s more trouble than it’s worth at best and does you more harm than good at worst.

How would you administer such a law? Would you require everyone to have a last will and testament at birth? Upon reaching the age of 18 question mark upon marriage? Divorce? Retirement? And how would you know who is and is not complying with the law? Would you have to file a copy of your last will and testament with your tax return every year?

Once the government requires you to have a last will and testament, then it’s up to you to make necessary changes to your will as changes arise in your life. One more thing the government requires you to do that you don’t really need to do and may not want to do.

Over time we’ve come up with a better way to deal with decedent’s estate than mandating that every person have a last will and testament. We have instead what are known as intestate succession laws. If you die without a will, the law determines automatically to whom your property goes. This is far more fair, more efficient and more pervasive and effective than a law that requires everyone to have a last will and testament.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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