A circuit judge in Hillsborough County recused himself from presiding over a drunk driving case after a defense attorney argued he hadn’t shown the appearance of impartiality. The issue? The judge mentioned support of MADD, the nation’s leading victim advocacy group for drunk driving laws, on his official judicial web site.
The judge himself agreed that it could be construed as indicating that he might not be impartial in his rulings in a DUI trial in his court. He then immediately had the reference to MADD removed from his web listing.
But, does anyone really believe that simply taking down a line from his web page biography really makes a difference in how he will rule? Defense attorneys may continue to argue that he maintains this bias if they believe it will help their client.
But the larger issue is that, experienced defense lawyers know all judges have biases, tendencies, and patterns in how they rule. Many are fair, some are extremely tough towards defendants, and some are relatively lenient. A smart defense lawyer knows his court and knows the judges. It may make sense to continue or delay a case if you know that you will be in front of a particularly tough judge.
It is a commonly misunderstood fact that justice is not blind, not fair, and not perfect. It is determined by imperfect people, after all. But it can be difficult to understand how the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict, or a harsh sentence or a minimal sentence is often entirely based on the judge behind the bench or the people in the jury box.
Fairness is a goal of the overall system, but certainly not a standard that is met in every case.
For every advantage in your case, you need the best Florida criminal defense lawyer you can get. You want a lawyer who knows the law, and knows the system, and will work it to get you the best possible outcome. Please contact us for a consultation on your criminal charges in Florida. When you speak to the attorney, ask about similar cases in your courtroom.
Our goal is not fairness, but to fight for you. That is the job of every defense lawyer. Please contact us to find out what we can do to help.