Judges could help stop incivility since we can't control ourselves

The apparent demise of civility and collegiality at the Bench and Bar has become quite disturbing to many observers. Since our manners and conscience don't seem to control our actions, is it possible that the Bench could intervene? For instance, it has become disturbing to hear some attorneys criticize and demean others with remarks (in open Court or in writings) about the "stupid," "misleading" or "absurd" positions taken. It is not unusual to hear attorneys literally interrupt or even shout down another. This is usually done under the guise of a speaking objection, much like we see on television. I saw a discovery deposition transcript where one attorney registered at least one speaking objection on every page and frequently registered objections to every question in a critical area of discovery. We have all seen Responses to Interrogatories where an attorney will register a "blanket objection" to each and every question. In these cases, manners and leadership should come from the top. Judges should intervene, since apparently, we can't control ourselves. At least it should be embarrassing to be called out by a judge.

— Donald J. Ray, Tullahoma


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