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American society has high expectations for judges, yet the actions of judges are constrained by other members of the courtroom work group. To what extent is criticism of judges, whether local or national, really criticism of the actions and inactions of prosecutors and defense attorneys?

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In American jurisprudence, the adversary system requires that each side zealously represent the client.  In a criminal proceeding, that means the prosecutor must zealously represent the state and the defense attorney must zealously represent the accused.  It is difficult for me, as someone who practiced law for many years, to...

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In American jurisprudence, the adversary system requires that each side zealously represent the client.  In a criminal proceeding, that means the prosecutor must zealously represent the state and the defense attorney must zealously represent the accused.  It is difficult for me, as someone who practiced law for many years, to see why or how the actions of these actors should result in criticism of any judge, who is bound to allow the proceedings to unfold in this manner.  I would have to think that such criticism, for the most part, is based on an essential misunderstanding of the role of the judge and the roles of the other participants.  There are no doubt a few judges who are incompetent, dishonest, or biased, but criticism leveled at judges because of some dissatisfaction with the outcome of a case is generally completely unreasonable, certainly at the trial level.  At the appellate level, judges tend to rule on precedent, as they should, so such criticism seems even more unmerited. 

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