I hold judges in high regard. Well, most of them, at least. As in every profession, there will always be rotten apples. But this one definitely takes the cake.
The client engaged my services after the case had already been filed in court. When i submitted my authority to prosecute, she called me into her office and told me that before she signs the authority, she wants to be sure that I will prosecute the case actively. I thought that goes without saying if you’re the private prosecutor. I also thought, “Whoa, isn’t she supposed to be the judge here, not the chief public prosecutor??”
My thoughts must have shown on my face because madam judge immediately decreed that she wasn’t on anybody’s side, she just wants to make sure that the culprits are punished. My next thought: “Hurray, she’s definitely on our side. To hell with presumption of innocence!” Then she proceeded to berate me that a graver case should have been filed, why did we file only that, there are plenty of offenses in the Revised Penal Code (this while she angrily flipped pages of the book on her table and jabbed her angry finger at certain provisions). I was too shocked to say anything, then recovered to calmly tell her that I wasn’t the one who filed the case. Of course, I repeated this during the next hearing when after adjournment, she approached me while I was still seated with the public prosecutor. We tried to tell her that the case has already been filed and we couldn’t make changes without risking double jeopardy. The public prosecutor even assured her that we will be consulting with their chief (since it was one of their own who made the mistake as to what case to file) as to the possible additional case to be filed. Madam judge pointed to me and said, “Let her worry about it, SHE’S BEING PAID.”
Wow, did she expect me to apologize for earning my living?
The few times I attended hearings in that court, I was humiliated every single time. Good thing I’m beyond open court humiliation, can’t afford to be that sensitive when you’re in private practice. But the fees I earned couldn’t cover the spa pampering I needed after every hearing. I’m not usually paranoid, but after two or three hearings I was convinced that she had it in for me. So I sought 2nd, 3rd, even 4th opinions. Our paralegal agreed. My lawyer-friend agreed. Hell, even the opposing counsel agreed. I thought if I complied with every order, came on time, and was respectful she’d come around. No such luck. One time I was absent, with the two other counsel. We were ordered to explain. Good thing I had a legit reason, so I dutifully submitted my medical certificate. The other two didn’t even bother with an explanation, and got away with it. The public attorney was always late, we even had to wait for her until 10AM on the last hearing I attended, and the case was scheduled for 8:30. Still, she got away with it.
So finally I decided, as with all things I deem not worthy of my emotion and stress, to walk away. I informed the client, returned part of the fee, and filed my notice of withdrawal. The end. Ya think? Nope. Today i received an order from that court noting my withdrawal. But it doesn’t end there. Lukewarm prosecution, she said. Plus a whole lot of things. Oh well. I still believe in batman:) I wish her well. I wish she learns the meaning of impartiality. I wish she finds a new stylist for her hair. But that’s just wishful thinking. I am glad that there are still a LOT of honorable, impartial, professional, and dignified judges worthy of respect and worthy of the robe.