Monday, July 02, 2012

Yes, the Judge is Watching You!

Late last year, a defendant facing sentencing by a Federal Judge in the District of South Dakota, smiled as the Judge advised him he was being sent to prison.  The Court, not amused by this callous behavior, tacked on another six months.  The defendant appealed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit ruled that a sentencing judge has broad discretion.  You can read the story here.

I always warn clients to be careful of their facial expressions, body language and movements.  In civil court, a judge will not be sending you to prison, but he/she will be making a decision about your case.  Judges are humans too and the last thing you want is the judge to think poorly of you because of your reactions in court. Be respectful, avoid showing inappropriate reactions, do not mutter under your breath and control your body language.  You can only make your case worse by fidgeting, making faces, or otherwise irritating the judge.

1 comment:

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