I have had the distinct privilege of appearing in front of one of our newer judges in past months. I'm learning his likes, dislikes, and views. While I haven't appreciated the finer qualities of some of his rulings, I do wish that he had been around to lecture my parents as I was growing up. Here's what I mean -
- A teenager testified that her dad's idea of taking her out to dinner during visitation was to go to the biker bar, sit at the actual bar, and order dinner. He drank a beer and then drove her home on the back of his motorcycle. The Judge asked the father about it when we returned to the courtroom. The father says, "yes, we go to the ___(biker bar)___. Yes we have sat at the end of the bar one time. Yes I did have a beer with dinner. Yes I drove her home on the motorcycle. She had safety gear on." The Judge was outraged. The father tried to argue, saying it was just one drink. The Judge wouldn't hear of it -- gave the father a huge lecture.
- I remember many a visitation with dad where we would go to this bar. I'd get a Shirley Temple. The piano player knew me by name and would play Billy Joel's "Piano Man" for me. Dad would have several drinks with his meal and take us home.
- Another case I represented mom who had cheated on her husband. Dad decided to bad-mouth mom to the boys and as a result the boys were not visiting Mom. The kids came to court, ostensibly to tell the Judge they wanted nothing to do with Mom. As they walk in, Mom says Hi and the boys ignore her. The Judge saw it and proceeded to lecture both boys about respecting their mother. Then he called Dad on the carpet for not teaching the boys manners. He told the father that it was up to him to teach his boys about becoming good, upstanding young men. The father tried to say that "you can't teach teens nothin' - they won't listen to me." He also said, "I have to work. I can't be watching them 24-7." The Judge told him that if he couldn't control his boys, the Judge would find someone who could.
- I wonder what would have happened if my mother had been lectured about the importance of watching out for us girls and imposing some reasonable rules. Also, about the need to put us above work. I wonder what the Judge would have said to my father, who couldn't find a kind word to say about our mother and spent most of his time with us bad-mouthing her.
- This Judge also lectured a Mother who left her Husband, moved in with her boyfriend and was living with him, along with the child. The Judge told her she was immoral and just plain stupid. The mother tried to explain that the child liked the boyfriend and that financially she could afford a better house because of her living situation. The Judge tried to explain to her that children don't care how big of a bedroom they have - really they don't need to adjust to a parent's divorce, a new house and a new boyfriend all in the matter of one day.
- Hmm. Wonder what this judge would have said to my mother? Who not only moved in with her boyfriend immediately after my father moved out -- but the boyfriend was my dad's (ex) best friend. And the way she informed us of the new relationship was to kiss him, passionately, goodbye after a visit.
I've also heard this Judge say things like, "women need to be respected. Your job as a man is to protect your wife, not, under any circumstances behave violently toward her."
While I may not like all his rulings, I do appreciate most of his words of wisdom.