Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Lazy Judges are the Worst

http://www.abajournal.com/news/arti cle/recusal-motion-federa jorgedeclaro01/29/19
One of my first lessons in real life after law school was th onehell01/29/19
jorgedeclaro (Jan 29, 2019 - 12:29 pm)

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/recusal-motion-federal-judge-kicked-prosecutor-out-of-courtroom-in-retaliation-for-appeal-success

In the article above, the prosecution alleges that judge Lynn Hughes told a prosecutor to leave his court room because the attorney misrepresented the trial court record on appeal in a case where the judge dismissed a criminal prosecution on Brady violations.

So I looked on Pacer and it looks like the defense attorney had a decent point. Prosecutors withheld a 2013 sheriff’s report and several statements by victims/witnesses that were beneficial to the defense. This occurred for four years and were not disclosed until four days before trial.

So the judge dismisses the case in a TWO SENTENCE ORDER. The prosecutor hands him a gift by seeking reconsideration which would have allowed him to go through the record and make the proper findings and conclusions of prejudice, bad faith, etc.. What does the judge do? A ONE PARAGRAPH DENIAL. Fifth Circuit unsurprisingly concludes the trial court abuses its discretion.

What’s the hell was the point? If you’re going to make tough decisions which are vulnerable to appeal, put in the fricking leg work to justify your decision. You just wasted everyone’s time and got painted as a sexist to boot, all because Made the right decision but mailed it in on the important part which is justifying it.

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onehell (Jan 29, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

One of my first lessons in real life after law school was the existence of "minute entries," judgment forms that are literal checkboxes, and/or the practice of requiring counsel to draft proposed orders. Far cry from the lengthy and reasoned decisions found in the appellate cases that make up the entirely of a law school curriculum. In real life, I quickly learned that the only way you were going to see any kind of scholarly analysis in state trial court was if you wrote it yourself after being lucky enough to get told to do a proposed order. As a result, I got into the habit of always offering to draft a proposed order after winning some issue. More often than not, that offer would be accepted and it would be an opportunity to get stuff into the order that would make sure it held up or was clear later. Otherwise, you'd get a "minute entry" prepared by a GED-educated court secretary.

Doesn't excuse this guy. A federal judge has clerks who can draft quality orders, and the sexist remarks were highly inappropriate. But I will say that extremely terse orders are not rare at the trial level in a lot of places.

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