Thursday, October 14, 2021

How do federal judges break their own tie?

That's the difficult question facing the federal judges in our district right now.  

I previously reported on the short list for Magistrate Judge in West Palm Beach.  This short list was recommended by a committee appointed by our Chief Judge.  Last week, the district judges interviewed the five finalists (as is the practice in the Southern District of Florida). After the interviews, the 16 active judges voted on who would be the next Magistrate Judge.  

The usual procedure would have the announcement that very day, but strangely I didn't hear that evening who got the nod.  And my sources weren't talking.   

Now we've found out why -- the vote ended in a tie* with no tie-breaking procedure.  And no one is budging.

So now what?  Our jury of judges seem to be hung.

Any advice for our brothers and sisters on the bench?

Do we need a good Allen charge for this situation?  

Members of the Judiciary: I'm going to ask that you continue your deliberations in an effort to agree on a magistrate judge. And I have a few additional comments I’d like for you to consider as you do so. Remember at all times that no district judge is expected to give up an honest belief about the merits of an applicant. But after fully considering the interviews and application, you must agree upon a magistrate judge if you can. You should not be hurried in your deliberations and should take all the time you feel is necessary. I now ask that you retire once again and continue your deliberations with these additional comments in mind. Apply them in conjunction with all the other instructions I have previously given to you.

*I have heard conflicting stories about whether the tie is 8-8 between two candidates of 5-5-5 (with one judge not voting) for three candidates.  Because I can't get confirmation on the vote, I am not posting the names just yet.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it make sense to just have the Chief Judge case the tie-breaking vote?

Anonymous said...

C.J. or let senior judges vote

the trialmaster said...

Flip a coin.

Rumpole said...

Rock Paper Scissors

A game of HORSE

A game of five card draw poker

Ink a Dink a bottle of Ink

Anonymous said...

Glad you all think this is funny. This is about people.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

See which of the candidates would take a lower salary for sucking the public teat.

Anonymous said...

You mean whichever prosecutor they choose to anoint?

Anonymous said...

Dave Brannon, William Matthewman and Patrick Hunt were not prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, neither Edwin Torres nor Alicia Otazo-Reyes were prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

This notion that the magistrate bench is stocked with prosecutors is overblown.Not every single magistrate judge has been a prosecutor. These are the only prosecutors that I know that are on the bench.


Hardly the imbalance that the critics want you to believe.

Rumpole said...

We are in suspense here. When are they going to decide ? This is like waiting for the cardinals to elect a pope.

Tattoodtiger1 said...

Shady stuff happens in SDFL... that list is pitifully non diverse!

Anonymous said...

How was the magistrate judge selected?