Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eagle survey

I was very surprised that the Eagle would only publish 2 sentences of my response to them. It would seem to me that perhaps they have a conflict where this survey is concerned. It is their survey so they have a vested interest in having it appear to be accurate.

For those who are interested, this was my complete response:

Fortunately, objective data exists that disproves the results of several questions in this survey.

I am proud to have been affirmed in 94% of the 415 written opinions issued by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. That clearly demonstrates that my knowledge of the law is excellent and that I apply the law appropriately. So why would 72 lawyers question my knowledge of the law and 85 claim that I do not apply the law appropriately? Perhaps they simply don’t like the way I ruled in their case or maybe their own knowledge of the law should be questioned.

I am actually shocked by the number of lawyers (108) who claim that my work ethic is lacking. The objective facts show the exact opposite. Using records that go back to 1998, I average 25 jury trials each year that I am serving as a trial judge. That is higher than any other trial judge in Sedgwick County. Court records show that I am consistently one of the top producers in whichever department I am serving. For example, from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008 I handled 1,090 matters. This includes jury trials, bench trials, preliminary hearings, sentencings, probation violation hearings, pleas and pre-trial motions. The other judges serving in the same department range from 533 to 714 matters. These are facts, not opinions. Our computer records go back to 2003 and I have compiled the statistics for each of those years. The results can be found on my website, www.rebeccapilshaw.com.

I do not believe that the anonymous opinions of lawyers should be the standard used to measure a judge’s worth. The public must be reminded that this is not a scientific survey. This is not a random sampling of lawyers who are held accountable for their responses. Any lawyer with the time and the desire can answer this survey and the responses are all anonymous. The last thing a judge should be is accountable to the lawyers. I serve the public, not the lawyers. Over 5000 prospective jurors have come through my court in the last 15 years, countless witnesses as well, but the survey does not seek their opinions. If the public wants to know how hard I work, it would be better to ask the clerks and the court guards, those who actually observe what I do on a daily basis.

I have served this community for 15 years now. I wasn’t perfect when I took the bench and unfortunately I am not perfect now. But the verifiable facts show that I work hard and I work smart. I will continue to do so if the voters see fit.


Anonymous said...

I think the concern from the lawyers might come not from the number of cases you handle, but from the tendency to be late. It has not been uncommon to wait an hour for you to show up to your own docket.

Rebecca said...

That's simply not true. Yes, of course there have been occasions that I was late but the only time I can remember being an hour late was the day my car was burglarized.

There are a lot of reasons that court starts late that don't always have to do with me. For example, it is now 11:10 in the morning and I have been waiting since the docket was called at 9:30 for the ADA to show up for a motion to suppress. This will be an evidentiary hearing and by the time he shows up we will end up working over the lunch hour. It could well be that we will not start my afternoon docket on time, but my court reporter is certainly entitled to have her lunch hour.

However.....if this is the perception I will work at being more prompt. No one has ever told me this is a problem. I'm actually quite open to a little constructive criticism.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog.

Anonymous said...

I could see a few attorneys having a vendetta against you but looking at the shear number of attorneys questioning your work ethic lead me to believe there's an issue with your performance. I wouldn't put much faith in the amount of cases you've handled not being overturned on appeal since very few cases are ultimately overturned on appeal. Appellate court judges do not like to make lower court judges look bad thus few cases are overturned. Can you name a judge that has had 50% of their cases overturned? I doubt it. You want people like Michael Gaines to show respect to the court yet you do not practice what you preach since you were censored by the KS Supreme Court. Having a judge censored is another rare feat seeing as they've censored one judge in 3 years.

Rebecca said...

You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I strongly disagree but I guess that's what makes life interesting.

Anonymous said...

The next time you have a case where 87 people get on the stand and say someone is guilty and the defendant says he strongly disagrees why don't you dismiss the case. Didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

The difference would be that the 87 people testifying in court would be under oath and would not be hiding behind anonymity. We never allow gossip and innuendo to convict someone.

Judge Pilshaw

Anonymous said...

You'd have to be naive to believe people do not lie on the stand even after being sworn in. I highly doubt these attorneys are conspiring against you. Moreover, I highly doubt all 87 huddled in a room and decided to come up with the same story since there just isn't any motive to do this. Just the sheer number would leave any rational person to believe that what they're saying must have some validity. Then again, some people like to make a decision and then tune out everything else see State vs. Bennett No 96,591.

Rebecca said...

I'm not going to let this devolve into an argument with yet another person hiding behind anonymity. You've had your say, please, let's move on to something else.

Anonymous said...

If you don't want anonymous posting, turn it off.