Why I Cannot Speak With The Judge

Judges, Magistrates and Hearing Officers must remain independent, impartial and unbiased to BOTH sides to a dispute throughout all phases of the case. Judicial Officers cannot take sides with any one party to a dispute. Judicial Officers may not act as the lawyer for either party. The court is not a legal services office. If a Judicial Officer or the court staff assists either party with the preparation and presentation of his or her case, then the Judicial Officer has become biased and partial, and has compromised the integrity of the court.

Also, communications with a party must be in the presence of all other opposing parties. There cannot be private, one-sided conversations with a Judicial Officer. This is known as the prohibition against ex parte communication.

Here is another way to look at this issue: Would you want the Judicial Officer talking to the other party without your knowledge and giving the other party tips and pointers on how to be successful against you? And then, would you want that same Judicial Officer deciding the case?

Finally, a Judicial Officer must remain independent from all influence. Suggestions that the Judicial Officer will not get your vote, or that you will publicly criticize the Judicial Officer, or that you will write a letter to the editor, or that you will report the Judicial Officer to the authorities will not influence the Judicial Officer’s decision, nor will it open the lines of communication to the Judicial Officer.

The Canons of Judicial Conduct governs each of these topics concerning judicial independence, impartiality and communications concerning a case. The applicable rules are Canon 1(A), Canon 2(B), Canon 3(B)(2), Canon 3(B)(5) and Canon 3(B)(8).

Any person may represent himself or herself in court without a lawyer. However, this does not make the Judicial Officer or the court staff your lawyer. If you choose to “do-it-yourself”, then you are acting as your own lawyer and your own investigator. You must perform just like a lawyer would perform in gathering evidence and other pertinent information. Neither the Judicial Officer nor the court staff can assist you in preparing or presenting your case. Just because you “do-it-yourself” does not mean that the law changes or becomes easier. The law remains the same whether you are represented by a lawyer or you represent yourself. The law remains the same whether your case is worth $50.00 or $500,000.00.