Friday, May 21, 2010

A Great Judge: The Hon. Jack B. Weinstein

Today's online New York Times has an article about Judge Jack B. Weinstein. The article describes (how accurately or inaccurately, I do not know) Judge Weinstein's efforts to avoid imposing a harsh sentence on a man accused and convicted of downloading pornographic images of children; the article describes Judge Weinstein's efforts to avoid the efforts of his superiors on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to force Weinstein to impose the harsh sentence that Weinstein is apparently so determined not to impose.

As the article states, this is "quintessential Weinstein." His former colleague John S. Martin reportedly said, "Jack is somebody who will step out and do what he thinks is right and take his chances of being overturned by an appeals court. ... He sees the injustice in these things and he tries to do something about it."

  • I would not have had the courage to do what Judge Weinstein routinely does. This is one reason why I decided long ago I never wanted to be a judge.
  • Judge Weinstein is one of the great judges of the 20th and 21st centuries. This is not just because this 88 year-old man voluntarily carries a full caseload, continues to author many speeches and articles, and has an original and powerful perspective on evidentiary processes, including a willingness to consider the bearing of formal statistical evidence and probabilistic argument in forensic proof. Judge Weinstein is a great judge also because he has never lost sight of the idea that law is or ought to be about justice and that law ought to be humane.

    Now it is true that many injustices have been committed in the name of justice. But it is also true that many crimes have been committed in the name of law bereft of justice. (Think, e.g., of Nazi or Stalinist judges.) This is an instance in which I have to say that I know a just man when a see one: in Weinstein I see a just, humane, and wise man and judge.

    It is almost literally a crime that our society could not bring itself to make Judge Jack B. Weinstein a member of our society's supposedly most-elevated legal institution, the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead we generally (but, thankfully, not always) elevate technocrats and bureaucrats to that high bench. May God forgive us.

    N.B. I do not know if Pres. Obama's nominees have empathy. However, I do know that "empathy" is not a dirty word.

    &&&

    The dynamic evidence page

    It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.

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