Thursday, November 6, 2014

Good Luck in Court!

95 weeks ago, I published my first reflection on becoming a district judge.  It has been a real privilege and pleasure sharing with you some of the experiences I’ve had sitting on the bench.  This week, Judge Looby begins his tenure as the District Judge with his chambers in Sibley County.  Except possibly for those rare occasions when he or another sitting judge simply is not able to preside in Gaylord and I’m called to help out, my work there is done.

I feel this is an appropriate time to conclude these weekly pieces on my experiences as a trial court judge.  I’ve tried to give you a different look at the business of judging.  Reading these pieces, it’s clear that it’s not always, or even usually, a sterilized review of the facts and application of the law.  More often than not, it’s an imprecise process – as much an art as a science.

I want to thank those of you who have emailed of talked to me about these musings.  I also want to thank the Winthrop News for publishing these short essays under the heading “A View from the Bench”. 

At this point, I sometimes ponder what my legacy will be.  I suspect that some who have appeared before me will say that I am the wisest, most patient and just judge since Solomon.  Others will be convinced that I am the most uninformed judge ever to have donned the black robe.  There is no doubt that my decisions have affected hundreds of lives over the course of my career.   I have tried my best and can live with my decisions, even those in retrospect I have discovered were not the best decision I could have made.

Now, it’s time for new tasks and new projects.  I’m looking forward to it!

But who knows, perhaps I’ll miss setting down my thoughts weekly and will start a new series of essays.  Maybe I’ll write some reflections on being retired.  Perhaps the News will publish these as “A View from the (Park) Bench”!

*  *  *  *  *
I couldn’t fine a spot for this actual text message conversation I had a few years ago, so I’m going to drop it in here.  I do have a friend in Forest Lake, and thought it was from him: 

Sender:            Are you in Forest Lake? I thought I saw you drive by but not sure.
Me:                  Nope.  In Court.
Sender:            What did you do?
Me:                  :-)  who is this?
Sender:            Sorry wrong #.  Good luck in court.

*  *  *  *  *

PS:  For those of you who have asked and those who may be curious, I finally did get that porch painted!