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Be Wary of your Judge

In the news recently was an article talking about a Kentucky Family Court judge who refused to hear adoption cases involving gays and lesbians. There was an ethics complaint filed against him and this ultimately led to him submitting a letter of resignation. He had said publicly that he would no longer hear adoption cases involving “homosexual parties” because he believed that allowing a gay person to adopt could never be in the child’s best interests.

This made the news because he went so public with his opinion about homosexuals. To my clients the real take away points from this article are the following:

Every judge has a bias about something. You are being naïve if you think that your judge doesn’t have certain predispositions, opinions, or biases about different topics, people, places, or things. This is another reason to think about settlement. Sometimes we can control what judge we are in front of and sometimes we can’t. Ultimately, you as the client can control the outcome of your case. If you let the judge decide your case know that the judge comes with his/her own set of preconceived opinions; some of which you may not agree with.

Ask your attorney about your judge. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers about your judge. Be proactive in talking to your attorney about how much the attorney knows about the judge. Share any information you learn about the judge with your attorney. Ask your attorney about the possibility of getting a different judge if the one you are assigned to is perceived as being unfair for reasons that seem inappropriate to you. A change of judge is sometimes possible and you should do everything you can to explore this option if you think you will end up in court.

It wasn’t that there is only one judge in one state who is biased against homosexuals. This was just one judge who chose to speak openly about it.