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There's No Accounting for Judges

NCJ Number
Albany Law Review Volume: 58 Issue: 4 Dated: (1995) Pages: 1063-1085
L H Schafran
Date Published
23 pages
This article considers the question of what can be done to insure that judges do not trivialize domestic violence or treat domestic violence as unimportant or as a man's right.
The reports of state supreme court task forces on gender bias in the court contain many accounts of judges who trivialize violence against women. The author describes several cases where judges excused or even approved of mayhem and murder by a man when the victim was a wife, and cases where male judges' projection of themselves into domestic violence cases skewed justice and endangered women. Even when judges' actions are shocking, ignorant, or inexplicable, there often are only minimal mechanisms available to hold them accountable. Improving the judicial response to domestic violence requires multiple strategies focusing on the attitudes of candidates for the bench before they become judges, then on judicial education, specialized domestic violence courts, and the accountability that can be imposed on sitting judges through court watching, judicial performance evaluation, media attention, and insistence on a meaningful response from judicial disciplinary commissions. Footnotes


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