The Multitasking Judge
Scenario: A judge conducting a hearing on whether to modify the no-contact order in a domestic-violence case pending trial also signs a stack of routine orders during the hearing. This scenario is based on the transcript of an actual court hearing. Note how the judge handles the prosecutor’s objection at 4:17.
- What would a person in the courtroom observing the proceedings think the judge was doing during the hearing?
- How important was this hearing to the parties? What was the potential impact of the court’s decision on them?
- Would the defendant and the victim believe that the judge took their concerns seriously?
- How well did the judge react when the prosecutor objected to a statement made by the victim? Was the judge in full control of his courtroom at that moment?
- How might a judge better show that he or she is listening and takes the concerns of the parties seriously?
For Further Information:
- For information about multitasking, including the percentage of people who suffer a loss in performance when they multitask, see Pamela Casey, Kevin Burke, & Steve Leben, Minding the Court: Enhancing the Decision-Making Process, 49 Rev. 76, 89-90 (2013), available at http://goo.gl/ekSzt1.
- For a discussion of courtroom behaviors that promote a sense of fair treatment, see So What Courtroom Behaviors Promote Perceptions of Fairness, Procedural Fairness Blog, Nov. 5, 2014, available at http://goo.gl/hkgdbT, or look at the Courtroom Observation Report citizen volunteers use for the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, available at http://goo.gl/fS3Jqq.
- For general information about procedural-fairness principles applied to the court setting, go to ProceduralFairness.org.