It sounds like this could be on the court clerk (who I think is normally the point of contact for that kind of thing) at least as much as it’s on the judge.
I guess we’ll find out based on how she apologizes (or refrains from apologizing).
Yes, the clerk probably dropped the ball. But he really should have had someone else from his office at the hearing to explain. Even if he is the only attorney, a legal aid or someone else should have been there to explain and ask for a continuance. Most trial lawyers I know have an established plan in case they are incapacitated
Edited to add: a non-attorney would have had to ask unofficially. Whoever the cover attorney is needs to fill an official request. That said- the judge and clerk messed up as well
Yes, but if the clerk had done their job right the hearing would have been postponed without anyone having to show up in person (assuming the message was sent at least a day or so before the hearing).
Justice was not served.
Clerks receive an enormous amount of email. No trial attorney I know would have relied on just the email. It’s part of the deal with trial attorneys, it’s professional to have a backup plan in case of emergency. For me, that really stuck out.
The judge should have backed down and looked into things when the defendant explained her attorney had a stroke. She really should have known the attorney might have notified the court and it never reached her.
While I do feel the lawyer was not as professional as he should have been, because he obviously didn’t have a plan in place, the guy did just suffer a stroke and the judge acted like a jerk.
And I’m done commenting. I feel like I’m treading too close to victim blaming for my own comfort
She said she has had issues with this guy before, so maybe between that and miscommunication explains her attitude on this
I could understanding maybe relying on only an email if it were a minor misdemeanor trial date, and clearly they roll a little differently in Georgia, but for the first day of a murder trial?! Stroke or not, the lawyer’s behavior is suspiciously unprofessional.
Having never been the victim of a stroke, just hearing that diagnosis might cause a person to be a bit preoccupied. He sent an email and perhaps given the circumstances felt like that was sufficient. Given the nature of strokes he might not have been on top of his game that particular day. Seems that a bit of slack may have been appropriate.
Everyone involved in this is wrong and acted unprofessionally. The moment the judge had a defendant set for a murder trial alone in court having to speak for herself, she should have immediately adjourned and had the clerk contact the lawyer to figure out what was going on. That’s what clerks do, and it isn’t done on the record in open court.
And stroke or no, if you have a client set for a murder trial an unacknowledged email is in no way sufficient to justify sending your client set for a murder trial into court by herself to address the judge.
If, as it appears, he is a sole practitioner and didn’t have a colleague (or even a paralegal?) that would cover his court call or staff to follow up to make sure the clerk was aware of the situation, he should probably reconsider whether he is up to the task of representing someone accused of murder.
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