Tuesday, February 23, 2016

And the CyberSmokeBlog award for judicial misspeak of the day goes to .....

Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal!

For: Joyal said, "Judges are not like bloggers - they don't have a bias, they are informed and impartial."

These words were spoken in open court the other day in response to a request by Winnipeg lawyer Martin Glazer on behalf of his client accused letter bomber Guido Amsel that an out of province (or at least out of Winnipeg) Judge hear Mr. Amsel's motion for bail. Mr. Glazer went on to argue the province's legal establishment is like one big, happy incestious family (a CSB paraphrasing of his words) in that everyone knows each other.

So what's wrong with Chief Justice Joyal's words? Plenty. First it implies bloggers have biases, are misinformed and partial. While this may certainly be true in a lot of cases it's not true in all.

Second. It suggests Judges/Justices don't have biases, are always informed and impartial. If you read what some Judges say in open court both here and the United States this statement simply does not hold up.

Third. As a grade 10 English teacher once said, "Remove all the prejudices from a man and there's not much left." By today's standard he would have been besieged for not using the gender neutral "person." Judges boil their veggies in the same water as the rest of us and can only put on their pants one leg at a time. Therefore, by natural extension they must have foibles too.

Fourth. Judges/lawyers who use the social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter) to message is certainly not uncommon.

Clare L. Pieuk


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