Davis presents ten commandments of a good judge to Franklin Farm Bureau PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012 00:00

At the November 13th quarterly meeting of the Franklin Township Farm Bureau, Harrison County Superior Judge Roger D. Davis explained “ The Ten Commandments of  a Good  Judge”.  After a pot-luck dinner, served at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Lanesville Jr/Sr High School, Davis said in his opening remarks “there could (in reality) be Twenty Commandments of a good Judge”.
You shall have no higher law than the Constitution.  It is the fundamental charter for our form of government.  It controls the organization of the government , and sets limits on the power of the government over its people.  “Thus, it prevents even the highest government official from running over ordinary people in certain situations,” Davis said.
You shall always respect the Legislative and Executive branches of the government.  Judges have a very important role in our system of government.  “Judges are obligated to respect and honor the laws of the other branches of government so long as they do not violate the Constitution”, Davis said.  “ Due respect must be shown to other branches of government,” the speaker emphasized.
No judge should be a temperamentally self important person.  Davis said, “My very good lawyer friend says ‘certain judges are prima donnas’ ”.  A good judge must be able to admit to making mistakes; and be able to correct them. “ He or she must not be arrogant or abusive because of their race or country of origin, or for any other reason,” the speaker said.  
“Even in Harrison County, Indiana, we have people in our courts from all over the world”,  the Judge said.  They come from China. Korea, Mongolia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, Central and South America, Mexico, places in Africa, Russia, Bosnia and many others.  “When a prosecutor’s conduct is obviously different because of the person’s race, it is incumbent on the judge to do what he or she can do to correct this”, the Davis asserted.
Remember to always give people their day in court.  It may seem, in some cases to be unnecessary because the situation is obvious; or it is a waste of time.  “If it is your case, and you are one of the parties, you may feel or see the matter entirely different”,  the speaker said.  Nearly all families will have some-one in a court of  law sometime in your life…..a traffic ticket. a small claims case, a divorce case or some other family law matter.  “If it is your case, you will want your day in court in front of a Judge who is really listening with an open mind; and not one that thinks he already knows the answer to your case” Davis said. 
Judges must listen to the people in front of them.  “No matter how prepared you are, no matter how much you have studied the case ahead of time, there are frequently times when I am persuaded to a different conclusion after listening; and carefully considering the evidence, the law and arguments of the people  and their attorneys” Davis said.
You shall not close your mind.  Keep an open mind.  But, what about the vast amount of papers and thousands of cases that keep coming?   There are time limits.  Certain things must be taken care of immediately; while others have to be thoroughly  researched with an open mind.
You shall not forget you have their lives, property and family in your hands.  If you already have it all figured out and know the answers or what the result will be, there is no need for a hearing or a trial.
Always remember the person in front of you could be you or one of your family members.  “But for the grace of God, it could be me,” Davis said.  It could be a traffic ticket, a divorce case, a boundary line dispute.  When it is you or one of your loved ones, I believe you will want a judge who is organized and with an open mind. You will be hoping that judge is not arrogant and is capable of making well reasoned carefully considered and thoughtful decisions.
Respectfully submitted,
Joan T Schickel, Farm Woman Leader
Franklin Twp. Farm Bureau