Author Topic: Perceptions about judges.  (Read 299 times)

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Offline Holly Goodhead

Perceptions about judges.
« on: April 01, 2018, 01:22:14 PM »
A poster on Blue has made the following claim regarding judges:

"They're just ordinary men, like you and me, albeit a good deal more intelligent and better educated than we are".

http://jeremybamberforum.co.uk/index.php/topic,9319.msg436204.html#msg436204

Firstly we do actually have female judges in the UK albeit all those adjudicating/presiding over the Bamber case have been male, white British, middle class, middle aged or elderly, and possibly privately educated too.  Quite the opposite of a jury which is far more representative of society at large.

They are "ordinary" men in that 4 were caught watching pornography on court computers.  1 resigned and 3 were dismissed.   

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/11476880/Judges-dismissed-after-watching-pornography-on-court-computers.html

Trial judge, Justice Drake, failed to understand much of the forensic evidence.  Consequently his summing up to the jury was factually wrong in parts.

The same applies to the appeal court judges at the 2002 appeal hearing.  Caroline identified what she refers to as a 'school boy error' in respect to the bloodstained pages of the bible.  Furthermore all concerned seem oblivious to the fact they have no idea whose blood stained the pages. 

The appeal judges at the 2002 appeal drift off into total speculation about how wet blood would behave once deposited in a silencer and the silencer subsequently removed from a firearm.  Further similar speculations are made.  Only scientists qualified in continuum mechanics and such like can provide reliable testimony on such matters.  A point made by expert witness Mark Webster, a biologist, but unfortunately the point was lost on the judges who were happy to speculate. 

I could go on and on.  I see nothing from any of the defence lawyers or judges involved at trial and appeal which leads me to conclude these were smart switched on people.  I certainly disagree with the statement judges are good deal more intelligent than we are. 

 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 01:42:44 PM by Holly Goodhead »

Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2018, 11:01:42 PM »
Firstly we do actually have female judges in the UK albeit all those adjudicating/presiding over the Bamber case have been male, white British, middle class, middle aged or elderly, and possibly privately educated too.  Quite the opposite of a jury which is far more representative of society at large.

I think you're just being PC.  As a rule, people with a private education, especially public school education, and an Oxbridge degree - which is the typical profile of appellate judges (to whom my post referred) - will be sharper than the average person. 

I also think your post is an irrelevant response to mine because the fact that elite judges and lawyers do make mistakes (something I will agree with you about) does not in itself demonstrate a lack of intelligence. 

After reading about this case, I have come to the provisional view that:

- Geoffrey Rivlin's defence case theory was flawed and probably is the root of Bamber's problems; and,
- Justice Drake misdirected the jury, quite egregiously.

But both Rivlin and Drake are (or were, in the case of Drake) still more intelligent and capable men than me - and probably better men too.

I also reject your view that the judiciary should be representative of society-at-large.  I think that would be disastrous.  I don't want a representative judiciary.  I want an elite judiciary, and if I'm on trial for murder, I want the judge and the lawyers to be the cleverest people in the room - preferably with Double Firsts from Cambridge, or the equivalent, if you don't mind.  If I'm on trial for my life, I want the best brains involved on both sides, just to make sure it's the right verdict. 

I see nothing wrong with elitism - it's a necessary form of snobbery.  I say that as a man who has no formal education to speak of - my 'education' was a few years at a Northern comprehensive, as it happens.  But I like to think I have at least some brains.

I do share some of your concerns about the Bamber case, but I don't believe that reflects on the intelligence of the lawyers or judges involved.  Criticising them in that manner is, to my mind, rather like criticising a Formula 1 driver for messing up a hairpin turn.  He's still a Formula 1 driver.

Oh, and as for the reference to men, that was really intended to be generic.  Traditionally, generic references are male for brevity.  I am a traditionally-minded man and I dislike the idea of career women in the judiciary, but I'm sure there are good women judges, it's just that I think female judges should be very much the exception rather than the rule.

Thank you for allowing me to comment in response.

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 02:34:56 PM »
I think you're just being PC.  As a rule, people with a private education, especially public school education, and an Oxbridge degree - which is the typical profile of appellate judges (to whom my post referred) - will be sharper than the average person. 

I also think your post is an irrelevant response to mine because the fact that elite judges and lawyers do make mistakes (something I will agree with you about) does not in itself demonstrate a lack of intelligence. 

Your prerogative to think what you like.  The point I was attempting to make is that a lot of research shows heterogeneous groups often make better decisions than homogenous groups for a variety of reasons.  The 1985 investigation and subsequent trial involved almost exclusively white British middle aged - elderly males: male, pale and stale!  If I was trying to solve a problem not only would I want different skill sets but also a diverse bunch of people.

Recent research has shown the standard of education is largely irrelevant.  The brightest will rise as intelligence is largely genetic. 

I would say the brightest person I have met (and worked with) had a state ed and a degree in physics from Durham.  I can think of others that I have worked alongside in retail management and financial services that certainly seemed much brighter than Justice Drake and the lawyers involved in JB's case. 

If appellate judges are as bright as you think they are how do you account for the following bearing in mind these cases are just the tip of the iceberg high profile cases:

http://miscarriageofjustice.co/index.php?topic=3394.msg129016#msg129016

Of course individuals and groups make poor decisions and mistakes but the problem with the judicial system in the UK is that it doesn't recognise such.  A poor defense is often a feature of a MoJ.  I think most will accept David Waddington's handling of Stefan Kiszko's case resulted in one of the worst MoJ's post capital punishment but there's no evidence Waddington had to account to anyone or was asked to re-sit his bar exams etc.  Quite the opposite he was made Home Sec.  Reward for failure springs to mind.

Few people think JB is innocent or probably innocent or might be a MoJ because he had a poor defence.  Most think he's guilty because he was found guilty in a court of law.

After reading about this case, I have come to the provisional view that:

- Geoffrey Rivlin's defence case theory was flawed and probably is the root of Bamber's problems; and,
- Justice Drake misdirected the jury, quite egregiously.

Agreed

But both Rivlin and Drake are (or were, in the case of Drake) still more intelligent and capable men than me - and probably better men too.

How are you defining and measuring intelligence and capability? 

What in your opinion makes one man "better" than the next?

[I also reject your view that the judiciary should be representative of society-at-large.  I think that would be disastrous.  I don't want a representative judiciary.  I want an elite judiciary, and if I'm on trial for murder, I want the judge and the lawyers to be the cleverest people in the room - preferably with Double Firsts from Cambridge, or the equivalent, if you don't mind.  If I'm on trial for my life, I want the best brains involved on both sides, just to make sure it's the right verdict. 

I see nothing wrong with elitism - it's a necessary form of snobbery.  I say that as a man who has no formal education to speak of - my 'education' was a few years at a Northern comprehensive, as it happens.  But I like to think I have at least some brains.

I didn't say I thought the judiciary should be representative of society at large.  I simply pointed out the ultimate decision makers in trial by jury are jurors who are far more representative of society at large than members of the judiciary more so some 30 plus years ago.

Is there a correlation between good outcomes ie fewer MoJ's and practicing criminal lawyers obtaining double firsts  from Oxbridge compared with those obtaining say 2.1's from Leeds or Warwick? 

What is your definition of "clever" and "elitist".

I do share some of your concerns about the Bamber case, but I don't believe that reflects on the intelligence of the lawyers or judges involved.  Criticising them in that manner is, to my mind, rather like criticising a Formula 1 driver for messing up a hairpin turn.  He's still a Formula 1 driver.

The lawyers and judges at trial and appeal made poor decisions, numerous mistakes and oversights.  These are not my opinions but facts.  Why they occurred will hopefully one day be thoroughly investigated preferably by judges and others from UK and overseas.

Your analogy of a formula 1 driver isn't a good one.  The performance of judges and lawyers is difficult to quantify.  A formula 1 driver is measured time per lap and there are clear winners, runners up and losers.  There's no such transparency in the judiciary.   

Oh, and as for the reference to men, that was really intended to be generic.  Traditionally, generic references are male for brevity.  I am a traditionally-minded man and I dislike the idea of career women in the judiciary, but I'm sure there are good women judges, it's just that I think female judges should be very much the exception rather than the rule.

I think you will find your comments above are somewhat out-dated and amount to sex discrimination. 

Thank you for allowing me to comment in response.

You're welcome. 


Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 02:48:41 PM »
Your prerogative to think what you like.  The point I was attempting to make is that a lot of research shows heterogeneous groups often make better decisions than homogenous groups for a variety of reasons.  The 1985 investigation and subsequent trial involved almost exclusively white British middle aged - elderly males: male, pale and stale!  If I was trying to solve a problem not only would I want different skill sets but also a diverse bunch of people.

Recent research has shown the standard of education is largely irrelevant.  The brightest will rise as intelligence is largely genetic. 

I would say the brightest person I have met (and worked with) had a state ed and a degree in physics from Durham.  I can think of others that I have worked alongside in retail management and financial services that certainly seemed much brighter than Justice Drake and the lawyers involved in JB's case. 

If appellate judges are as bright as you think they are how do you account for the following bearing in mind these cases are just the tip of the iceberg high profile cases:

http://miscarriageofjustice.co/index.php?topic=3394.msg129016#msg129016

Of course individuals and groups make poor decisions and mistakes but the problem with the judicial system in the UK is that it doesn't recognise such.  A poor defense is often a feature of a MoJ.  I think most will accept David Waddington's handling of Stefan Kiszko's case resulted in one of the worst MoJ's post capital punishment but there's no evidence Waddington had to account to anyone or was asked to re-sit his bar exams etc.  Quite the opposite he was made Home Sec.  Reward for failure springs to mind.

Few people think JB is innocent or probably innocent or might be a MoJ because he had a poor defence.  Most think he's guilty because he was found guilty in a court of law.

Agreed

How are you defining and measuring intelligence and capability? 

What in your opinion makes one man "better" than the next?

I didn't say I thought the judiciary should be representative of society at large.  I simply pointed out the ultimate decision makers in trial by jury are jurors who are far more representative of society at large than members of the judiciary more so some 30 plus years ago.

Is there a correlation between good outcomes ie fewer MoJ's and practicing criminal lawyers obtaining double firsts  from Oxbridge compared with those obtaining say 2.1's from Leeds or Warwick? 

What is your definition of "clever" and "elitist".

The lawyers and judges at trial and appeal made poor decisions, numerous mistakes and oversights.  These are not my opinions but facts.  Why they occurred will hopefully one day be thoroughly investigated preferably by judges and others from UK and overseas.

Your analogy of a formula 1 driver isn't a good one.  The performance of judges and lawyers is difficult to quantify.  A formula 1 driver is measured time per lap and there are clear winners, runners up and losers.  There's no such transparency in the judiciary.   

I think you will find your comments above are somewhat out-dated and amount to sex discrimination. 

You're welcome.

Well, you're right about one thing: I am sexist.  But then, men should be sexist.  Neither of us would be here otherwise, would we.

Anyway, this is normative subject-matter and mostly opinionating from both of us.  You have your view, I have mine.  Let's leave it.

Offline Caroline

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 04:50:56 PM »
Well, you're right about one thing: I am sexist.  But then, men should be sexist. Neither of us would be here otherwise, would we.

Anyway, this is normative subject-matter and mostly opinionating from both of us.  You have your view, I have mine.  Let's leave it.

How so?

By the way, the possibility of Nevil being behind the door is nil. He wasn't sat in the chair in front of the door, he was precariously perched on the back of a chair that had fallen over sideways and was next to the aga which protrudes from the wall next to the door (it's not flush with the door). He would have had to have been shunted around a corner for that to have happened.

Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2018, 07:01:17 PM »
By the way, the possibility of Nevil being behind the door is nil. He wasn't sat in the chair in front of the door, he was precariously perched on the back of a chair that had fallen over sideways and was next to the aga which protrudes from the wall next to the door (it's not flush with the door). He would have had to have been shunted around a corner for that to have happened.

I'm sure that's true, and I'll rely on your word for it.  I think I explained on the blue forum why, even if Nevill was blocking the door, the argument doesn't work for the defence anyway.

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 08:05:00 PM »
Well, you're right about one thing: I am sexist.  But then, men should be sexist.  Neither of us would be here otherwise, would we.

As Caroline has asked, how so?

Anyway, this is normative subject-matter and mostly opinionating from both of us.  You have your view, I have mine.  Let's leave it.

Sure.  I will just add that at one time Home Office pathologists had to undertake bar exams.  Perhaps it would be an idea if lawyers acting in the higher courts had to undertake second degrees in say forensic science or such like.

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 08:08:02 PM »
How so?

By the way, the possibility of Nevil being behind the door is nil. He wasn't sat in the chair in front of the door, he was precariously perched on the back of a chair that had fallen over sideways and was next to the aga which protrudes from the wall next to the door (it's not flush with the door). He would have had to have been shunted around a corner for that to have happened.

Yes that's how it seems to me.

Offline Caroline

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 08:44:57 PM »
I'm sure that's true, and I'll rely on your word for it.  I think I explained on the blue forum why, even if Nevill was blocking the door, the argument doesn't work for the defence anyway.

I'll see if I can find a photograph which demonstrates my point.

Offline Caroline

Re: Perceptions about judges.
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2018, 11:53:57 PM »
I'm sure that's true, and I'll rely on your word for it.  I think I explained on the blue forum why, even if Nevill was blocking the door, the argument doesn't work for the defence anyway.

As promised .... The black cross is approximately the location of where Nevil was found. As you can see, he was around the corner from the door.