What Did the Judge Have for Breakfast?!
It is said that judicial decisions are affected by the digestive system of his/her honor. If the judge is feeling good, he/she might rule one way, and if not, then maybe another. I had an experience last month that seemed to reveal a decision making process that was not solely guided by considerations of justice, though, in the end, justice (in my humble opinion) was served.
Long story short. The judge was required to make rulings of law on various disputed issues. The judge ended up ruling in my client’s favor and for the highest collectible amount. But the way she did it showed that she had things other than completely objective decision making in mind.
To understand this, you must know that when a party files an appeal, this creates extra work for the trial judge. That judge must defend her rulings to the appellate court. She must write a detailed opinion that requires extensive research, writing and rewriting.
All judges want to make the right rulings at trial, but they also don’t want it be demonstrated in public that they got something wrong. When the appellate court reverses a trial judge’s ruling, the trial judge’s error becomes widely known. No judge likes to be reversed.
One way a judge can finesse this is to rule in favor of the party who should win, but in a way that will deter appeals. That’s what seems to have happened to my client last week. The judge, again, ruled in my client’s favor, but she ruled against us on several of the seemingly important issues. By doing so, she prevented those parties from being appealed by the defendant. You can’t appeal an issue that you won.
Since there was no appeal, that means less work for the judge and no chance of being reversed, less work for me and payment of the judgment sooner rather than later.