“We’ll just let the Judge decide…”
The Judge. The (near) Final Ruler on all legal disputes that cannot be resolved otherwise. There is likely not a more misunderstood and much maligned position. Judges are expected to know-it-all and get it right every time, all the while without acting like a know-it-all. Judges have multiple roles in hearings and trials. Judges have these tasks, among others;
- Determines whether the correct legal procedures were followed.
- Determines to some extent the procedures for conducting the Court Room.
- Determines the witness’ credibility- whether they are truthful or not.
- Determines the admissibility of evidence and the weight it should be given.
- Whether an attorney’s stated objection to something being introduced or considered is legally proper.
- Whether there is a reason to overrule said objection.
- How a witness is treated by the opposing attorney.
- How the attorneys treat one another.
- Maintaining Order among the chaos that the stress, anxiety and emotion that Court brings out of people.
Judges have a large responsibility and the buck stops with them (…mostly, though Appellate relief may be possible). Judges are also human (mostly, I think) and have to adjudge your case based on snap shots presented. Your attorney and your side put a smiley face on your case and a frowny face on the other and the other side does the opposite. The Judge, after a relatively short amount of time, will then make a decision that could very well impact you for the next 20 years or the rest of your life.
Judges try to get it right and are bound to base their rulings on the law as it currently reads applied to the admitted facts and evidence presented. Their decision cannot be based on things not “of record,” meaning facts or evidence not introduced, nor can the Judge do what they or you think the law should be, but rather must apply the law as it is.
Matthew Thompson is a Domestic Relations Attorney in Mississippi and like the old saying goes,”A Good Lawyer knows the law, a Great Lawyer knows the Judge!”