Reflections from the Bench2017-01-25T11:06:33+00:00

Reflections from the Bench

Personal essays by your fellow judges (active or retired) talking about their experiences in the judiciary. Have an idea for an essay? Email it to

Reflections from the Bench: Not exactly how I remember it: Returning to regular trial duties 20 years after retiring

By Hon. Jess B. Clanton Jr.

It wasn’t unfamiliar territory.

I had worked as a judge in rural Oklahoma for more than 21 years, 18 as a general jurisdiction judge. On most days, I was the only judge in the courthouse in a county of about 14,000 people.

I “retired” 20 years ago but since then had filled in for judges who were

May 21st, 2018|

A Day in the Life of a Military Trial Judge

Submissions are always welcome. Email your essay to

By Linda Strite Murnane, Colonel, USAF, Ret.

I served my last 10 years of a 29.5-year military career as a military trial judge. A day in my life usually began with packing a suitcase. U.S. military trial judges are assigned through a system of circuits or centralized location, and are then

February 21st, 2018|

Reflections from the Bench: Swamp water jurisprudence

By Hon. Dennis Challeen (Ret.)

Excuses are the everyday language of the irresponsible. It should not surprise anyone that courtrooms are the meeting place for creative excuses. Through the years I’ve heard almost every kind of excuse imaginable, but there are always new ones; losers become quite creative in trying to avoid being responsible in order to direct blame elsewhere rather than

January 18th, 2018|