Ask the Judge: Judicial demeanor?By Judge Steve Walker
A judicial act is defined as “an exercise of discretion or an unbiased decision by a court or judge, as opposed to a ministerial, clerical, or routine procedure.”
That act affects the rights of the parties or property brought before the court. The judicial act is interpreted and applied to a particular set of facts contested by two opposing parties in a court of law, resulting from discretion and based upon an evaluation of the evidence presented at a hearing.
Judicial adjectives include: considerate, disinterested, impartial, just, knowing, prudent, rational, reasonable, sensible, thoughtful, unbiased, unbigoted uninfluenced and even wise.
Demeanor is defined as: “the outward physical behavior and appearance of a person.’
Demeanor is more than just making a statement, but the manner in which it is said. Tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, contribute to the person’s demeanor.
The term demeanor in reference to the judicial is most often applied in shedding light on the credibility of the Judge who is ruling in a courtroom as to whether they are perceived as unbiased in their actions on the bench while ruling on cases.
How the judges conduct themselves in a courtroom or off the bench is a good indication as to whether those judges exemplify appropriate judicial demeanor.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine how to compare a judge’s judicial demeanor against another judge who is functioning in the same capacity.
Obviously personality contributes significantly to the situation. Some judge’s personalities easily exhibit more restrained or minimally expressive behavior while others are not naturally so inclined to do so. Both are acceptable within the relatively narrow definition of judicial demeanor.
Like any other profession, due diligence is required in the “People’s Court,” to maintain a proper and acceptable demeanor to conduct business in a professional and judicial manner. The end result is that the case is heard and the final decision is based solely on the merits of the law.
Lastly, as always, if you are due in court, be sure to show up to court on time. It is in everyone’s best interest.
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and a former Journalist.