Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A commenter poses the question...

... regarding whether federal district courts should split up into criminal and civil divisions like our state courts do.

My gut tells me that this would be a good thing, but I haven't given it a lot of thought. What do you all think?

16 comments:

McLovin' said...

It depends. Who would be the judges assigned to the criminal division?

Anonymous said...

would that be a question for the chief judge, or would that be decided at the time of appointment?

Anonymous said...

Not a horrible idea, but--like the comments so far suggest--people are more interested in how the assignments would work. I envision that judges would be rotated from civil to criminal every x-number of years. Obviously, not too frequently because then you diminish the prime purpose of the system: having judges with deep institutional knowledge of criminal or civil cases due to their exclusive focus on those cases. That said, I imagine that judges would hate that system because they like the variety of criminal and civil. Also, I know for a fact that most judges don't like their civil dockets because the lawyers are way too litigious. But your question is an interesting one and lends itself to interesting discussion. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well, the fact that some (or even all) judges hate the civil docket is one of the most important reasons to split them. My impression is that some judges disregard the often important issues before them on civil cases because they think the case is petty next to the 25 year minimum case heard just before, or coming right after the case being heard at the moment.

Whether the judge is right is his/her thinking, this sort of attitude does a significant disservice to the civil system.

Anonymous said...

4:03--I certainly can see where you're coming from. But civil litigation in federal court, on average, has got to be better than civil litigation in state court (in terms of quality of the practice and judges). That said I think federal judges certainly understand that civil cases are important and can have some serious impact, but I just think they dislike how the cases are litigated. That's different than saying that they view civil cases as less important. But that's just my take.

Valerie Plame said...

What "deep institutional knowledge" does a judge need to preside over a criminal or a civil case? Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Valerie Plame--I was simply referring to the fact that federal district judges' civil jurisdiction is pretty expansive (not to mention complex--ERISA,maritime, habeas, etc.). I was suggesting that if all they were doing was focusing on federal civil litigation they would have greater familiarity with the statutory frameworks, thereby leading to greater efficiencies in the disposition of those cases. Finally, I didn't intend to come off as arrogant. Trust me, I'm a pretty modest person not the smarty pants that your post suggests. The ad hominem attack was unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

What a travesty it would be--the chief judge would most certainly be Judge Hawthorne with the chief of the division for the USAO being Old Scratch himself.

Manny di Presso said...

Since when is "Get over yourself" an "ad hominem attack?" Oh boy.

FAKE FRED MORENO said...

MEEEEESTER MARKUS....FIRST YOU TAKE CAMERAS INTO MY COURTHOUSE....AND NOW YOU'RE DIVIDING MY JUDGES INTO CRIMINAL AND CIVIL. YOU TRY YOUR CASES THE WAY WE TELL YOU, AND LET US RUN MY COURTHOUSE THE WAY I WANT TO.

OR ELSE.

GO NOTRE DAME.

Anonymous said...

In federal court this week we witnessed the full force of the federal government going after one of the great fashion designers of all time, Mr. Hernan Prada.

Anonymous said...

DAVID.

You have got to post some about the hijinks that are going on in the Steven's trial in D.C. The government just took the position that they never said that the documents they were offering into evidence were completely accurate - this after it was disclosed that their witness had falsified hundreds of hours of entries in the records to reflect that he performed more work than he actually did!

Is there an AUSA or former AUSA out there that is ashamed of this type of behavior?

I think the fact that we never hear from any AUSAs on the blog shows their own recognition of the lack of respect our government has for the constitution. COME on GUYS you still have the First Amendment -- or, are you privy to something we are not?

Anonymous said...

David--Rumor on the street is that Judge Highsmith is reassigning all his cases. It looks like he might be retiring earlier than expected.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to focus on your next trial and stop diddling around!!! Word....

Anonymous said...

Who plead the columnian war lords out in front of judge Moore?

Anonymous said...

Back on topic.

I am for it as long as the following Judges are in Criminal:

Moore
Dimitrouleas
Martinez
Altonaga
Moreno
Highsmith
Cohn