The Ottumwa Courier

Court Calls

August 13, 2012

Everyone needs good courts

OTTUMWA — At the end of a civil trial, the judge often makes remarks before gathering up the files, the exhibits and the testimony notes to take the case under study. Judicial comments to the folks in the courtroom are not required by law, but in my 16 years on the bench, I have found them instrumental in casting a context for the case in the big picture of “justice for all.” The judge’s pledge as to how carefully the case will be treated under the facts and the prevailing law is reassuring to people in the throes of uncertainty who want to know they have been heard and will get a fair shake. Because it is rare that a judge may speak personally to parties about their lawsuit, the window of opportunity when everyone is assembled is invaluable.

Over time, I find myself saying things at the close of a courtroom proceeding that reaffirm certain themes: the humanity that laces through the situation, the importance of the issues, the need for a timely ruling, my duty to be fair and impartial. It is a pleasure to get to know the people in the course of the trial, and they should know that they are respected as human beings, I tell them.

The civil disputes we hear on the general-jurisdiction bench are of all different types: some are wrenching child-custody battles; some are misunderstandings or breaches in a business deal; some pit neighbor against neighbor or family against its kin; some are fueled by grief or anger or love; some come with victims of bad choices, a bad economy, or just bad luck. Despite the unrest and outright hostility underlying many a trial, the people involved are still shown to be good people for the most part. Indeed, all of us could find ourselves in the court system at any time seeking civic help with problems we can’t solve otherwise.

In each case, it is clear that the court system serves a unique and crucial role in bringing disagreements to orderly resolution and the people to closure and peace. A judge’s ability to set the tone for the court’s work as the litigants leave the courtroom is a high calling and one that must never be overlooked or averted for expediency. It just bears saying: Good people do end up in court, each case is important and justice will be served.

Judge Scieszinski serves the 8-A Judicial District, comprised of the following counties: Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Monroe, Poweshiek, Van Buren, Wapello and Washington. She may be reached at annette.scieszinski@iowacourts.gov.

1
Text Only
Court Calls
  • 0824 Court Calls photo Scieszinski -M -T The reach of sociology Every year Iowa judges are invited to speak in local schools, on college campuses and at civic events to help the community understand the role of the courts in daily life. An interesting trend on my circuit of judicial outreach is the demand for pre

    August 23, 2013 1 Photo

  • Good news By Chief Judge Mary Ann Brown The Iowa Judicial Branch dedicates itself to providing independent and accessible forums for the fair and prompt resolution of disputes, administering justice under law equally to all people. -- Iowa Judicial Branch Mis

    July 27, 2013

  • 0622 OTT Opinion Judge Lucy Gamon photo -T -L The judge as gatekeeper when the goal is justice "… no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Constitution of the United States, Amendment 4 It is 2 a.m. on a dar

    June 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0608 OTT Judge Joel Yates photo -L Who was James Otis? Most Americans can associate some names with our country's fight for independence from the English Monarchy, which began in earnest in 1775: Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. Few, if any, would credit James Otis. Here is why they should. It

    June 8, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0529 OTT Opinion Judge Annette Scieszinski photo A different kind of cyber threat The reality is, that in our country's culture, people depend on electronic devices. For many, it's become a 24/7 relationship. Sometimes I wonder where it will lead us, and if coming generations will be born with advanced dexterities to instinctively

    May 29, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0511 OTT Opinion Judge Myron Gookin -T -M We never really graduate It's May, and the graduation announcements are rolling in. It's a wonderful time to celebrate the educational achievements of those who are graduating from various schools. It did not take me long, however, to realize that learning does not end with

    May 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0425 Opinion Judge Mary Ann Brown photo -L Spring brings magistrate commissions Hopefully, spring color will soon be here. It seems like it's been a long time coming. This spring also brings with it the process associated with selecting judicial magistrates. Local commissions have begun the process of taking applications, interv

    April 25, 2013 1 Photo

  • The kind of judge I will be

    April 6, 2013

  • Selecting a new judge

    March 16, 2013

  • Symbolism and functionality

    March 2, 2013

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National