Friday, July 1, 2005

Judge Bowdre Speaks to the Press

U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre, who presided of the recently completed criminal trial of Richard Scrushy, gave an interview to the Birmingham News (article here) offering -- in very general terms -- her views on the judicial process during the Scrushy trial.  She refused to comment on the lawyers or any of her rulings, but did discuss generally her approach to the trial and willingness to have a few lighter moments with the jury and lawyers.  On the issue of whether she would accept the case once it was assigned to her, Judge Bowdre noted that she could have recused herself because of contacts with Scrushy's family -- specifically his first wife and their daughter -- but instead ""I decided to grin and bear it, suck it up and do my job."  Good to hear from a federal judge, and a former law professor to boot (not that we professors have to "suck it up" all that often).  I am always leery of judges speaking to the press about cases, especially one which could be back before her if the perjury and obstruction charges are reinstated by the Eleventh Circuit and the government decides to pursue them in another trial.  That said, judges have very few avenues to express informally their position, usually being confined to judicial opinions that are rarely what could be described as a "good read," and their contacts with the local bar must be limited.  Human nature being what it is, Judge Bowdre's comments are hardly problematic, and do not show any favoritism to one side or the other -- although the U.S. Attorney's Office may not feel the same way. (ph)

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