The Advocate's crusade for "transparency" with regard to judicial discipline has borne its bitter fruit (June 9, "Stepmom arrested at school in visitation case? Panel says EBR judge issued bad warrant"). The reason that judicial discipline has traditionally been confidential unless and until a disciplinary result is found to be merited, and a result been reached, is that judges have a difficult job.

In nearly every contest that a judge must decide, there is a "winner" and a "loser." Parties that bring cases to full litigation in Family Court have very emotionally difficult and fraught cases; much more than parties that may be fighting only over money in a normal civil dispute. Litigation over parental and grandparents is even more difficult. When parties are noncompliant with a judge's orders, things escalate quickly between the parties and the results are more than unpleasant — because emotions are so high, parties may become violent. Family Court judges may have to make quick decisions to rein in a party in order to retrieve a child before something worse happens. The last place the judge's decisions need to be second-guessed before all facts are in is the morning newspaper. Sometimes disgruntled parties will seek to have a judge disqualified by filing a complaint. Then the judge who has been educated by the parties as to whom is disruptive and "at fault" in the litigation can be exchanged for a new, fresh judge who may be fooled for awhile.

Judge Charlene Charlet Day is one of the least likely to become angry or to decide a case in a fit of pique. She is generally very slow to find a litigant in contempt of court, and when she does, she seldom punishes severely, but gives a litigant many chances to reform, and follow proper orders. The story of accusation is premature and is not service to the public or anyone.



Baton Rouge

Stepmom arrested at school in visitation case? Panel says EBR judge issued bad warrant