Week 5 Case Study

Sherry Shyster filed for a divorce after two years of marriage to Harvey Shyster.  During the Shysters brief marriage, the couple only purchased a pickup truck and camper trailer for 30,000.  Sherry owned quite a bit of personal property like a home and acreage, which is all premarital assets.  However, Harvey turned out to be a gold digger and was trying to get possession of Sherry’s home and acreage.  
During the separation, Sherry and Harvey agreed to take turns paying for the truck and recreational camper until the divorce was final.  Harvey did not hold up his end of the agreement; Sherry had to make all the payments for the truck and camper.  The extra expense each month was straining to Sherry’s bank account. Sherry asked Harvey if he would work out a property settlement without going to court to expedite the divorce. Harvey refused and has delayed the divorce for two years.  Finally, Sherry’s attorney, Casey Hardcase, was able to get a court date to finalize the divorce in Judge Ditcher’s court. 
When the divorce proceedings started,
Judge Ditcher said, “I do not like to waste the court’s time in divorce hearings like this one that could have been settled outside of my courtroom.”
When Sherry’s attorney, Hardcase stood up to present his opening statement,
Judge Ditcher said, “Make it quick; I do not have all day for your ramblings.”
When Harvey’s attorney, R. N. Hyde, stood up to state his opening statement, Judge Ditcher was courteous and friendly and listened intently to what Hyde had to say. Once Hyde finished giving his opening statement,
Judge Ditcher said, “Before court today I had an opportunity to review this case and I am ready to make a judgment.”  Hardcase stood up to give his closing statement, and
Judge Ditcher said in a loud voice, “Shut up and sit down.”
Hardcase looked down shook his head and then looked over at Sherry, and just shrugged his shoulders, and sat down.  
Judge Ditcher looked over at Sherry and said, “Mrs. Shyster, from what I have read about this case, I believe you are bitter about this divorce.” 
Sherry stood and said, “Excuse me your honor, but I filed for the divorce. I am not bitter; I just wanted the divorce to be over with; this divorce has lasted longer than my marriage. I want to get on with my life.” 
In a thundering voice, Judge Ditcher said to Sherry, “Do not interrupt me again, or I will hold you in contempt.” Sherry quickly sat down.
Judge Ditcher said, “I will try to continue, and hopefully there will not be any further interruptions.  For the property settlement, I have decided that Sherry Shyster will continue to pay for the truck and camper while Harvey Shyster attempts to sell it.  Once these items are sold and after the loan is paid off any money left over will be split between the two parties.”  Judge Ditcher continued; “In addition to the truck and camper payment, Sherry will also pay for Harvey’s attorney fees and court costs.  I hereby grant the divorce on the grounds of incompatibility, are there any questions… I did not think so, court adjourned!”
Sherry was dumbfounded and leaned over to Hardcase and said, “What just happened? I have never heard of anything like this happening in our court system; I feel like I have just been railroaded.  Judge Ditcher has an apparent bias towards me, and I do not know why.”
 Hardcase said, “Sherry, I am sorry this has happened, but I am not sure what to do at this point, my hands are tied.”
Sherry asks, “What do you mean your hands are tied?”
 Hardcase replied, “Well…I know that Harvey’s attorney R. N. Hyde is a good friend of Judge Ditcher.  Hyde and Ditcher frequently play golf on the weekends, and their families go on vacations together.  However, I did not think Judge Ditcher would allow his personal life to influence him in the courtroom; I am truly disappointed.”
Sherry asked Hardcase, “Isn’t his relationship with Hyde a conflict of interest and a valid argument that Judge Ditcher should have recused himself from this hearing?”
In 2 to 3 paragraphs, a minimum of 250 words, apply the ethical issues for judges and how conflict of interests and the use of discretion can be problematic in regards to the scenario above.
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