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Is it not uncommon for criminal court judges or their

court's administration (e.g. bailiffs) to...
Is it not uncommon for criminal court judges or their court's administration (e.g. bailiffs) to manipulate the only clock on the wall in the courtroom (e.g. set it purposely ahead of or behind the actual time) so as to accommodate the judge's (or his/her administration's) personal agendas? One week when the judge is running late and the docket is full, the clock on the wall behind the judge's bench is running 20 minutes LATE. Another week when the docket is light, the clock is running 12 minutes FAST (e.g. the judge may want to finish early to leave early.) And do defendants or other court personnel expected to be on time have any room to object when they arrive 5 minutes ahead of the scheduled court time but the judge pronounces them 7 minutes late according to the clock on the wall (which on this day, is 12 minutes fast.)...? If this manipulation of the courtroom clock is purposeful and results in sanctions against parties reporting in a timely fashion but not timely according to an inaccurate and manipulated clock, isn't that unethical? And could not the judge or their administration be held accountable for such purposeful manipulation of the courtroom clock? Are there any rules which govern the accuracy of clocks displayed in a courtroom that are used as the clock of record?
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Answered in 25 minutes by:
10/23/2017
Michael Bradley
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,524
Experience: Owner at The Protection Group LLC
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To be honest I have never heard of such practice. Judges normally are always running late and their schedule running late does not make a difference
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Customer reply replied 9 months ago
your experience is with judges running late which addresses part of this question. The other part relates to judges starting court early and with a clock running ahead of time. If you've never experienced such, then your experience base may not be best matched to answer this question. The other parts of my question relating to whether this practice would be ethical or even actionable against the judge or their administration for manipulating the clock for their personal agenda -- are parts you did not address in your answer. Please opt out / I request a different attorney to answer with an experience base better matched for this question. Thank you.
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,968
Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR, as you have requested one.

I have experienced judges running late frequently and while it is frustrating, I have never seen judges or their staff manipulate the wall clocks to justify the judge's tardiness. The judge has the right to control their court, which includes setting starting times and showing up late to the bench. HOWEVER, if court is set to start at a certain time, they cannot start before that time and if a party to a case can prove the clock in the court is incorrect.

IF a court is saying someone is late and the individual has proof that they are not, then the party has legal basis to challenge any ruling the court made during that time. It is the burden of the party claiming the judge started early to prove they did so.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I was there in court when the Judge began 10 minutes early based on the clock on the wall being set 11 minutes fast. She got upset that other parties to my case were not present (not my fault or my side of the legal process) and had them paged throughout the courthouse hallways (in court areas not paged). They showed up and were on time although 10 minutes late by the court's clock on the wall, again 11 minutes fast. But this put her in bad mood and may have disposed her to take more aggressive action in a case against me although such action occurred AFTER the court was scheduled to start. Firstly, how could I have proven she started early? I did notify the Bailiff that the court clock on the wall was 11 minutes fast to which he gave a suspicious reply, "We know that." And nothing more. Hmmmm....What were they up to? I could have tried to use my smart phone to photography my own wrist watch with precise time set electronically by FM radio waves daily to the US Clock of Record in Colorado (an "atomic" or "radio-controlled watch") and with the court's clock in the background to show 11 minute time difference -- but the focus would be off (watch near / clock far away). I could have tried to audio tape or video tape the court in session at that time -- but cell phones and electronic devices are to be turned off in court so the Bailiff would have stopped me had I tried. So how then could one PROVE that the Judge started early and when parties were not present as she unreasonably expected, it put her in a foul mood resulting in a more heavy handed judgement that will be quite expensive for me to get through? This is an unusual case / situation but it happened and I'd like to know if I have any remedies or alternatives at this juncture? Or maybe for next time / advice to others if it comes up for them in court in similar fashion?

Thank you for your reply.

Setting the clock fast and starting early would be grounds for a complaint of judicial misconduct. You could file that complaint with the Judicial Oversight Committee of the State Supreme Court.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you for the suggestion of a complaint of judicial misconduct. To properly register this complaint, however, wouldn't I need proof that the judge started early with an incorrectly set clock on the wall? I have no photographs of the correct time vs. the incorrect time on the courtroom clock and the judge proceeding with my court business ahead of schedule for court to begin. I did, however, report the judge's early start to the Bailiff who would likely not side with my complaint. There was, however, a new Prosecutor and Probation Officer who were called to this court before it was time for such court to start so potentially their testimony could back this complaint up. Would their written testimony be all that was needed for proof of the early start? Or would more be needed?

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, to report anything you are complaining about you need proof. You can document the starting times and what the clock on the wall says compared to your cell phone clock, which is held to be accurate to seconds. Yes, if you can get statements from anyone in the court that state the court started early, you can support your complaint.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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