Well, okay; the last one is a poor offshoot of an old spousal joke (If a husband makes a statement in the forest, and his wife isnt there to hear him, is he still wrong?). But at least I dont have to wonder about the first two questions. I can make a statement in one of my posts and know, to a moral certainty, that if I blow it, I will have volunteers who will cheerfully set me straight. For example, . . .
On Tuesday, I posted analysis of the Court of Appeals ruling in a domestic relations case, de Haan v. de Haan. In that case, a divorcing couple (can you still call them a couple by that point, I wonder?) secured the appointment of a judge pro tempore to adjudicate their entire case. Based on four factors, I leapt to the conclusion that the docket up there must have reached new heights, or maybe depths, of backlog. If people have to step outside the formal judiciary to get the attention of a decisionmaker, things must be pretty bad up in the State of
Turns out I may have been a tad hasty, according to more than one note I got in response. Here, in my feeble defense, are my four factors:
1. I had barely heard of the use of judges pro tem before this case came down the day before yesterday. But it turns out that it isnt all that uncommon, especially in domestic relations cases. The two most prominent ADR providers in
2. The pro tem statuteonly authorizes the use of such judges in two circumstances: . . . when the judge of the court is disqualified or unable for any reason to handle the case. I assumed that that meant you would need a docket crisis (in the absence of a recusal) in order to use such a judge. In practice, it doesnt work like that; busy trial courts are usually only too happy to have the help, so having two willing participants is usually enough to secure the appointment of the judge pro tem.
3. Over time, I have heard grumbling by lawyers up in
4. (Heres the best one Ive got.) The parties agreed to employ a judge pro tempore to adjudicate certain areas more rapidly than they would otherwise be heard under the circuit court scheduling system. There you have it; thats from page 2 of Judge Haleys opinion in the case, and I accepted the statement without questioning it. (Hey, if I sat down to fact-check each and every statement recited in every judicial opinion, I might get my case analyses out within a year and a half of the date of release. Let me know if youre okay with a timetable like that.) Well, in his defense, his honor might also have been misled by the first three factors that led me astray.
In truth, the