What difference can the judge make in your case?
One variable lawyers consider as they are evaluating your case and answering the frequent client question “how does my case look?”, is the judge presiding over your case. Judges come in as many different flavors as the food selection on a Las Vegas casino buffet. Seriously, every different personality type, political type, and life background is represented in the courtrooms around our state. That judge’s life experience, work experience, mood, and training can all come to bear on your case in a bad way or a good way. There are some judges that are a pleasure to work with and have patience, compassion and the mental energy to sort though the mountain of evidence that confronts them every day. There are some judges who are tired, drained and mentally worn out from the difficulties in their jobs or personal lives and are hard to appear in front of without some unnecessary negative spill over into our case. In other words, judges are humans just like you.
Being a judge is no easy job when the judge is willing to put in the full effort they are supposed to. Good judges will carefully and calmly listen to your legal arguments and listen to your particular fact circumstances without jumping to conclusions. Good judges will give each side the opportunity to present their cases without unnecessarily shutting them down or interrupting. Sometimes the way a judge reacts to an attorney’s argument when there is a jury present can profoundly impact the way the jury perceives the lawyer and thus the client’s case. It is always super important to know your judges attitude and peculiarities to make sure the jury does not see the judge becoming inflamed at the lawyer.
Some judges come to the bench from a previous legal job that that never involved trials or going to court, so they look at trial cases differently. Some come to the bench only having dome criminal law and may not know as much about personal injury cases or family law. Some judges come to the bench having had a family member severely impacted by a major life crisis like substance abuse, being the victim of a crime, having been injured in a serious car accident, or some other life changing experience that forms the way they approach their job. It is very important to know who your judge is and what their work and life background is. It will effect your case.
Sometimes there is little you can do if you have a judge that may not be the best fit for your kind of case. You do not get to select your judge. A skilled lawyer will know the ins and outs of any particular court and be able to find out any particularities of the court where you will be appearing. Knowing your judge is one of the many, many factors that will influence how your case unfolds. We would be honored to talk about your potential case with you if you have any questions.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.