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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 16, 2013 / 13 Teves, 5774

Who Judges the Judges?

By Diane Dimond




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is something special about a courtroom — sacrosanct, almost. In the hushed quiet, there is the inevitable not-too-comfortable spectator seating that discourages people from becoming too relaxed. There is the official bar that separates onlookers from the lawyers — a bar that civilians are not allowed to cross. There are bailiffs to keep the peace. And, of course, there is the elevated bench upon which the honorable judge sits in his or her ceremonial black robes. When it gets down to it, this is their stage, they run the show. Respect for judges is a cornerstone of our judicial system.

But what happens when the judge acts erratically or even criminally? Who judges the judge?

In San Diego, Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson isn't in any legal trouble — yet — but her behavior has caused quite a stir. After presiding over a murder trial in which Danne Desbrow, 36, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, Judge Cookson did something no lawyer there had ever seen. She called up the convicted killer's longtime girlfriend and married the couple! According to the bride, Destiny Desbrow, they then enjoyed a homemade wedding cake baked by the judge herself — served up on paper plates with plastic forks.

Short of a successful Ethics Committee complaint, Judge Cookson is expected to remain in her $179,000 job until 2018. When she runs for re-election, voters might decide to judge the judge for her baffling act of rewarding a just-convicted murderer with a special ceremony and a cake and vote her off the bench. But experience tells me voters have short memories.

In Montana, District Judge G. Todd Baugh has a better chance of having the electorate boot him to the curb. He's up for re-election next year. This is the judge who sentenced a former high school teacher — the admitted rapist of a 14-year-old girl — to serve just one month in prison after the accused man violated the terms of his no-jail parole. Stacey Rambold, 54, never had a full-blown trial because his young victim, Cherice Moralez, committed suicide before the case got to court. Compounding the family's pain was what Judge Baugh said about their dead daughter during his clumsy justification of the short sentence.

"It wasn't this forcible, beat-up rape," Baugh explained. And he declared the girl seemed "older than her chronological age" and was "as much in control of the situation" as the much-older teacher. There was an immediate uproar from activists who saw the judge as biased against both females and Hispanics.



Judge Baugh has apologized for his comments — but not for the sentence — and has declined calls for him to resign.

In Las Cruces, New Mexico District Judge Michael Murphy ultimately chose to resign and then got what some believe was a sweetheart plea deal from prosecutors. Murphy was caught on audiotape discussing how judgeships were awarded only to those candidates who first made a sizeable contribution to the sitting Governor's Democratic Party. Murphy described how he had paid $4,000 to win his appointment to the bench from the Governor in 2006. In addition, Murphy was heard on tape making graphic and disparaging remarks against Mexicans, gays and Jews.

Judge Murphy was about to be judged by the state's Judicial Standards Commission, but he resigned before any action was taken. For two years he fought felony bribery charges and, in the end, he was allowed to plead guilty to only one misdemeanor. Murphy agreed never to run for public office again and got a year's probation.

Tell me, please, how judges who dodge justice help maintain confidence in our legal system. Oh, that's right — they don't. And those who facilitate such deals are complicit in the erosion of the public's trust. That's right, I'm talking to you — prosecutors, defense attorneys and fellow judges who sign off on such plea deals.

There have been times when corrupt judges get the book thrown at them — finally. In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, two veteran judges were convicted in a years-long "Kids for Cash" scandal. President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan ultimately pleaded guilty to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks after sending youthful defendants to private juvenile detention facilities in which they had a financial interest. The more inmates shipped there the more money each judge pocketed. Thousands of juveniles were sent away in the scheme and oftentimes for trivial infractions. A 13-year-old was locked up for throwing a piece of meat at her mother's boyfriend. A 15-year-old served time for mocking an assistant principal on a MySpace page. An 11-year-old was incarcerated for calling the police after his mother locked him out of the house.

Both former judges have been disbarred and are each currently serving 87 months in prison. But the point is: It took five years for this ugly child abuse scheme to end. During all that time there were prosecutors, public defenders, social workers and court employees who were eyewitnesses to what was happening.

It is way passed time that court systems take a good hard look at policing themselves and their personnel, and that includes the judges in charge of the nation's courtrooms. Each state's oversight body for judicial standards needs to step up to the plate — in a timely manner — even if it's just to remind a judge that baking a cake for a convicted murderer is not entirely ethical. Bar Associations across the country need to tell members that part of their duty as a lawyer includes reporting wrongdoing within the system.

American's confidence in both the civil and criminal justice systems is under 30 percent according to the latest national polls. Can we afford for it to go lower than that?


Previously:


12/11/13 Corporations Are Liable, Shouldn't the Government Be Too?
12/09/13 Life After a Tabloid Scandal
12/11/11 The Cult of the Disgraced and Misplaced
11/03//11 Sunshine Laws Putting Citizens at Risk
10/27//11 Do Prisoners Deserve Free Medical Treatment?
10/17//11 No Justice From Justice
10/12//11 Paying the Price --- Twice
09/26/11 When is Photography a Crime?
09/19/11 Laws to Catch Up With Science

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Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered all manner of celebrity and pop culture stories.








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