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If a Judge Adds a Poem to His Ruling, Should the Commission on Judicial Performance Open an Inquiry?

Because it’s Halloween here is a short entry about a creeping vine. Apparently this case arose after a woman brought suit against her neighbor for allowing a vine to grow on her property which damaged her roof. According to his attorney James A. Murphy, In December 2006 Superior Court Judge Loren E. McMaster tentatively ruled that one count of intentional infliction of emotional distress be dismissed. He outlined his reasoning in an order, and merely summarized the reasoning in a poem, which appeared at the end of his ruling.

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In a letter sent to the judge by Commission on Judicial Performance Staff Counsel Charlene M. Drummer dated Aug. 15, 2007, the commission notified McMaster of its decision to authorize an inquiry into whether action is warranted for his recital of a poem in a tentative ruling.

Judge McMaster complied with the commission’s Sept. 4, 2007 deadline to respond and a determination by the commission remains pending. Murphy, contends that the commission’s letter was not an accurate description of what had taken place and does not think further action by the commission is warranted.

 

 

Here is the poem:

Defendant planted a creeping vine That crept and crawled and soon entwined Itself in plaintiff’s roof, and made a mess Causing plaintiff to suffer great distress This lawsuit follows but leaves unsaid Why plaintiff didn’t whack the vine instead
I believe, with very few exceptions (and this is NOT one of them) judges handle their difficult jobs extremely well and fairly. It has been my observation that most complaints about judges are made by lawyers who had not fully prepared for motions, hearings and/or trials.