Judges have some surprising wishes this holiday season

By Autumn King

Our December Question of the Month asked judges which of the following they’d most enjoy receiving this holiday season: a new gavel, a new robe, a new chair, new attorneys or something else.

New chairs (24 percent) and robes (22 percent) were high on wish lists followed by new attorneys (13 percent). New gavels finished a distant fifth (4 percent).

But more than a third of the 450 NJC alumni who made their holiday wishes known in the survey opted for something else. And those answers covered a lot of territory.

Municipal Court Judge Will Hardesty of Dacono, Colorado, wished he could go back in time to 1990 when he was first appointed to the bench.

“I could experience again all of the fun, ups and downs I have had since then as a judge,” he wrote.

An anonymous judge seemed to second that sentiment, writing, “I have the privilege and honor of serving in a position that I love doing every day. I really cannot ask for more than what I already have.”

Many other judges wished for an end to the pandemic.

“[I wish] the Covid protocols, vaccines and mandates [had] run their course,” wrote Texas District Court Judge William D. Old III. “I am tired of the Covid excuses to get out of having to appear or to avoid sentencing.”

Administrative law judge Marcus Oshiro of Hawaii’s Department of Labor & Industrial Relations wrote that if he could, he would sentence Covid to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Now wouldn’t that make a very Happy New Year?”

Some other wishes:

  • “A new back” (Anonymous)
  • “Prayers and happy thoughts for my wife, who is fighting breast cancer” (Hamilton County, Texas, Justice of the Peace James Lively)
  • “Thermostat. The courtroom is always freezing.” (Anonymous)
  • “Oatmeal cookies” (Anonymous)
  •  “A new clerk. My current clerk is a cat and isn’t very helpful.” (Anonymous)
  • “I’d love a ‘Zoom robe,’ a 1/4 (length) robe for hearings from home.” (Anonymous)
  • “A magic wand so I could grant patience, kindness, grace, thoughtfulness and energy, among other things, to those who need something special to make it through the trying times.” (Idaho District Judge Andrea Courtney)

* Each month the College emails an informal, non-scientific, one-question survey to its more than 12,000 judicial alumni in the United States and abroad. The results, summarized in the NJC’s Judicial Edge Today, are not intended to be characterized as conclusive research findings.

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