Bizarro Comic Amended by a Friend





A judicial colleague of mine used to imagine having a switch on his bench which he could flip to send electric jolts through a witness each time he was convinced the witness was lying.  In his imagination, the exchange went something like this:


Judge:  “How much do you earn each week?”


Litigant:  “$200”




Litigant: “Let me correct that, $300”




Litigant, now frantic, in a high pitched screech:  “I made exactly $452.37 last week and my  average weekly income over the course of a year is precisely $461!”

Judge:  “Duly noted.”


It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that more than a few of us idly picked up on his daydream, sometimes taking the process even further in our imaginations:  Attorneys who misrepresented facts?  Zap!  Fiduciaries who stole estate assets?  Zap!  Children who abused their elderly parents?  Zap! Zap! Zap! Parents who abused their children?  Triple triple-zap!  You get the idea.


As a whole, it is never far from judges’ minds how great an impact our decisions can have on individuals and families. Without the buffer of a jury, we are deciding living arrangements, parenting time, whether and when the house must be sold, how much of one parent’s paycheck is taken “off the top” and sent directly to the Department of Revenue. While we see families struggling and trying honorably to do the best for family members, we also see much deceit, misery, and pain that is sometimes beyond our power to remedy.  In retrospect, perhaps the daydream of The Zapper is a reflection of the powerlessness Probate and Family Court judges can sometimes feel.

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