Judge's Corner

Article Index

Judicial Challenges The Honorable Janet Stauffer, 7th Judicial Circuit (August/September 2017)

Use of Fictitious Names for Parties in Civil Litigation in Oregon The Honorable James Hargreaves (Senior Judge, retired), Lane County Circuit Court (June/July 2017)

The Judge's Pledge The Honorable Susan Tripp, Marion County Circuit Court (May/June 2017)

Organizing for the Courtroom The Honorable Daniel R. Murphy, Linn County Circuit Court (March/April 2017)

A Two Year Journey with Odyssey in Juvenile Court The Honorable Lindsay Partridge, Marion County Circuit Court (January/February 2017)

Lane County Streamlined Jury Trial Project The Honorable Curtis Conover, Lane County Circuit Court (November/December 2016)

20 Ways to Further Justice The Honorable Ilisa Rooke-Ley, Lane County Circuit Court (October/November 2016)

Managing Multi-Party/Complex Litigation without Driving Your Judge Crazy (and maybe even making it easier for everyone) The Honorable Henry Kantor, Multnomah County Circuit Court (September 2016)

Managing Multi-Party/Complex Litigation without Driving the Judge's Staff Crazy The Honorable Eve L. Miller, Clackamas County Circuit Court (August 2016)

Do's and Don'ts in the Courtroom The Honorable Lisa Greif, Jackson County Circuit Court (June/July 2016)

Preparation for a Status, Case Management, or Pretrial conference - or how to get more out of a non-evidentiary proceeding in criminal and family court cases The Honorable Kirsten E. Thompson, Washington County Circuit Court (April/May 2016)

Postponements The Honorable Richard Barron, Presiding Judge, Coos/Curry County Circuit Court (March 2016)

Consider Trying More Cases The Honorable Suzanne Chanti, Lane County Circuit Court Judge (February 2016)

Professionalism - It Counts Both In and Out of the Courtroom The Honorable Brian Dretke, Union County Circuit Court Judge (January 2016)

Changes to Sex Changes The Honorable Beth A. Allen, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge (December 2015)

Top 25 Tips from a Senior Judge The Honorable Michael C. Sullivan, Senior Judge (retired), Deschutes County (November 2015)

How to Succeed at Power Point In the Courtroom The Honorable Michael McShane, US District Court (October 2015)

Effective Use of Evidence At Jury Trial The Honorable Matthew Donohue, Benton County Circuit Court (September 2015)

Making a Record for Appeal, The Honorable Charles M. Zennaché, Lane County Circuit Court (August 2015)

Access to Civil Justice in Oregon's State Courts, The Honorable David Brewer, Associate Justice, Oregon Supreme Court (July 2016)

What Jurors Want: A Look Into the Minds of Jurors, The Honorable John V. Acosta, United States Magistrate Judge (June 2015)

Handling the "Half-se" Hearing, The Honorable Mustafa Kasubhai, Lane County Circuit Court (May 2015)

Effective Voir Dire, Judge Thomas Hart, Marion County Circuit Court (April 2015)

The New Judge on the Block, Judge Lung S. Hung, Malheur County Circuit Court (March 2015)

The Gift of Finality: One PJ's Perspective, Judge Karsten H. Rasmussen, Lane County Circuit Court (February 2015)

ORCP 68 Attorney Fees - when, why and how to seek them, Judge Deanne L. Darling, Clackamas Juvenile Court (January 2015)

Difficult questions must be answered before they are asked, Judge Edward J. Jones, Multnomah County Circuit Court (December 2014)

Judicially Hosted Settlement Conferences, Judge Jamese L. Rhoades and Sr. Judge Don Dickey, Marion County Circuit Court (November 2014)

Working together to make discovery more efficient, The Honorable Youlee Yim You, Multnomah County Circuit Court (October 2014)

Court Trials - A Jury of One, The Honorable Katherine E. Tennyson, Multnomah County Circuit Court (September 2014)

Making the Most of Short Evidentiary Hearings, The Honorable Daniel R. Murphy, Linn County Circuit Court (August 2014)

Vouching, The Honorable Jay McAlpin, Lane County Circuit Court (July 2014)

Appropriate Jury Instructions Can Help Litigators Win Trials, The Honorable Paula Brownhill, Clatsop County Circuit Court (June 2014)

Evidentiary Hearings and Motion Practice in the era of Oregon e-court, The Honorable Benjamin Bloom, Jackson County Circuit Court (May 2014)

Motions in Limine - Tips for "Newer" Litigators, The Honorable Jodie Mooney, Lane County Circuit Court (April 2014)

The Honorable Susan Tripp
Marion County Circuit Court
(May/June 2017)

The Judge's Pledge

I came to the bench with a pledge. I stood before the Bench, Bar and the citizens of Marion County and pledged that each and every day, I would hold to a set of beliefs, a creed that would guide my actions in seeking and providing justice for all. This is the creed that I hold and strive to follow each and every day as I progress through each and every decision entrusted to me by the citizens of Marion County.

The concept of justice for all, under equal law... equally administered... is not self-executing. It becomes alive and has an existence by and through its administration and application by trial judges-- those dedicated to the proposition that it is their affirmative duty to see that justice is done. A trial judge is not merely an umpire, a referee, a routinized follower of tradition, or a symbolic ornament providing approval or authorization to the decisions of others.

To every case brought, a trial judge's creed includes an affirmative duty to be an instrumentality of justice. A trial judge is sworn to render to every person his or her due under the same law, equally, fairly, and impartially applied and administered, without bias, without prejudice, without passion, and irrespective of race, color, creed, education, sexual orientation, representation, economic resources or social status. The attainment of justice for all is dependent upon a trial judge's fulfilment of his or her affirmative duty of justice, vigilance and devotion. It is this which securely forms the foundation for the fair and impartial administration of justice.

The oath I took, and the set of beliefs I set forth above, require that I stand vigilant, affirmatively seeking to ensure justice.

This brings me to the reasons I inquire when a Child Attending School (CAS) files a waiver of his or her right to appear, right to collect child support or allows a default to be taken. We are all aware of the history of contracts of adhesion -- a historical legal trap used to inject prejudice, bias, inequality and lack of justice into agreements of benefit to those of power.... company stores, usurious interest rates and other predatory financial agreements of the past. And at times those agreements came before a trial judge for enforcement. There was a time, when despite unequal bargaining power, the courts gave full force and effect to the provisions of oppressive and unjust agreements.

One would hope those days have passed. But not all attempts to use the justice system for improper purpose are historical. There continue to be those who use the legal process to attain unjust results. I am sure there are still complaints filed and defaults requested that stem from contracts with clearly usurious interest rates and questionable proof of service. There are those who seek Immediate Danger Orders or Restraining Orders for improper purpose. It is in these cases, as well as others, where a trial judge's vigilance, devotion and affirmative duty to seek justice continue to form the foundation for the attainment of justice for all.

And such is also the case when a college student waives his or her statutory right to receive child support due from his or her parents. It is in this situation where vigilance and an affirmative duty of justice cause one to inquire. Did the stipulation arise from oppressive circumstances or deception? Is the CAS's decision based on family pressure, threat, inaccurate information, or fraud? Quoting an oft-used phrase, is the CAS's waiver of his or her right to collect child support or the agreement to allow a default to be taken...knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently given?

Therefore, in the future, if a CAS is giving up a right, you should expect that I will continue to follow my oath of vigilance and my affirmative duty and devotion to justice. I will continue to inquire as to whether the CAS's decision is knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently given. I believe it is my duty to inquire.

 

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