Judges Crack Under Pressure

Overloaded dockets, stagnant pay and amateur litigants are blamed for blow-ups.

, The National Law Journal


A Florida judge bounds out of his seat from behind the bench and screams at an attorney for what he claims is her bad attitude. A West Virginia family court judge yells furiously at a litigant in a divorce case. The judge tells the man, who happens to be a church pastor, to "shut up" or go to jail. A trial judge in Tennessee shouts at an attorney during a deposition to do his bidding or risk his wrath. Each of these incidents led to judicial disciplinary actions in recent months. While few would excuse this kind of behavior, some legal experts argue that the intense pressures placed on judges these days are ­stoking those flared tempers.

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