“You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order!
al pacino, in justice for all
judge rule courtrooms. they can be demanding, insulting, arbitrary and tyrannical.
as a three decades practicing attorney, i almost always will accept being dressed down by the court regardless of whether i believe that i deserved it. judges, when seated on the bench, must be respected.
there are times, however, when questions arise concerning the administration of justice. a recent superior court hearing on the criminal case against a socialite rebecca grossman highlighted this problem.
the alleged crime occurred in a beautiful part of los angeles county, westlake village. westlake village is an area where the love of nature merges with wealth. it is a quaint area where residents love to walk in the neighborhood and enjoy the trees and the surroundings. often, families will walk together. while enjoying this nature, the wealthy residents also enjoy driving the scenic roads in luxury cars.
those familiar with driving in the area know to be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists.
from the accounts, ms. rebecca grossman was quite familiar with the area as she lived nearby. she is in court accused of running over and killing two young iskander children while they were crossing a street with their family. the accusations include that she was travelling drunk and was traveling 70 mph in a 45 mph zone. she allegedly carried one of the children on her vehicle for 100 feet on her hood before she braked. she then allegedly took off and was eventually arrested. dailymail.com
the iskander family still await justice for the loss of their sons mark and jacob.
the prospects, however, are not promising.
the case against ms. grossman has stalled. it has been over a year since the alleged crime and there still has not even been a preliminary hearing to see whether ms. grossman should stand trial. the court proceedings have been marred by continuances. while the pandemic has caused delays for many in the justice system, this particular case remains as an outlier.
the dailymail reported that “in december, judge samuels apologized to the victims’ family, noting how they were enduring ‘torture’ and ‘heartbreak’ while the case drags on.” ‘it’s been a year and two months since it happened,’ the judge said. ‘the victims’ family needs this case to go forward. ‘two counts of murder will take a while to get to a preliminary hearing but not this long.’ four months ago, samuels blasted grossman for not showing up at her previous five scheduled court appearances. ‘i have never seen ms. grossman – she has not been to court once,’ said the frustrated judge at that september 14 hearing. ‘we can’t keep continuing this. this is a serious case. these victims lost two children – it’s detrimental to them that this is taking so long.’ she indicated – are ‘entitled’ to have a preliminary hearing as soon as possible, said the judge. ‘ the judge said it was ‘unfair’ on the iskanders for the case to drag on for ‘more than a year,’ samuels said. she said ‘i have never seen [grossman] in a year and it is frustrating for the [iskander] family,’ she said. ‘the family is suffering.’ dailymail.com
based upon the article, there is one thing that is clear. the judge made no comment that of the court’s accountability for the case dragging on. she is the administrator of justice in that courtroom responsible for the proceedings. she is one to break the eggs so that the omelet could be made. she is the one who is setting calendar and making orders. there is no “we.” there is the judge and her ability to act upon the bully pulpit.
this is perhaps a moment in those in superior court must look in the mirror and take responsibility. this is perhaps a case in which the judge should set a date for the preliminary hearing right now. perhaps it is time to move heaven and earth to give justice to a family rather than make questionable apologies.
sometimes, those who are judging must be held accountable. this is perhaps one of these times. the anger lashed out in the courtroom should be directed at the bench to inspire completion of this matter.
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