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Human Factors involved in working as a judge

Filed under: Gender Politics,Law & Courts — MurrayBacon @ 9:50 pm Tue 28th June 2016

(This theme arose from incisive comments made by MoMA, in the post about Child Neglect Bomb in the Brain. I thought that this issue is one of the critical issues that would need to be addressed, if the familycaught$ was to be successfully functional and serve NZers.)

MurrayBacon says:
Wed 15th June 2016 at 11:46 am (Edit)
Brutalisation in familycaught$

About 12 years ago I was sailing across Cook Straight. I was chatting to the lady next to me… Somehow in conversation it came up that she had been a social worker for CYFs.

She told me about how her work as liaison with familycaught$ led to hearing many stories of violence, some believable and some not. She enjoyed the work, trying to resolve family issues. But she found that after a few years she would slip into treating her husband harshly, competitively and at times even cruelly. She would vow to snap out of it. She felt that she could stop it and could, for a few months.
Wider topic – psychological trauma

What scared her was that when she noticed that she had started again, she would realise that she had actually been behaving like that for some time, days, a few weeks, perhaps even over a month. Her husband hadn’t complained as such, but he was responding by retreating into his shell, away from her. She did not want him to see her in that way and considered that her job was threatening her marriage.

She looked around for other jobs, but nothing she could find came near to matching her existing pay. After nearly two years of this and seeing the problem only getting slowly worse, she decided that her marriage was worth far more than the last few dollars of salary. She cut her pay expectations and soon had a different job.

Her other comment intrigued me. Along the way, she had noticed that in the informal times at familycaught$, the judges especially spoke of fathers mainly in deprecating terms, even nonhuman. She felt it was quite unbalanced and surprising in that many were men themselves. The sames was less true for lawyers, who in the main were younger.

On thinking back to what she said, I recalled one of the judges commenting in a newspaper article that hearing stories of violence didn’t affect judges’ judgement. He confidently asserted that they are “professionals” and are immune to being affected by what they hear.

I am not a counsellor. But I am aware that most counsellors have regular debriefing sessions, to help protect them from being damaged by vicarious trauma. Perhaps the judge felt that they had the sensitivity of a lump of concrete? I am guessing that a judge’s cortisol response to vicarious trauma is just as delicate as a counsellor’s. But the judges lacked the knowledge of how to protect themselves from vicarious traumatisation and the wisdom or self awareness. Macho gone far wrong, male or female.

This might go some way towards explaining how judges can make comments about fathers should be more involved in children’s lives, but in secret caughtroom$ be doing everything they can to be the barrier.

New Scientist – Is Evil a Disease?

Ministry of Men’s Affairs says:
Thu 16th June 2016 at 10:07 am (Edit)
Murray (#122): Interesting comment. It’s probably true that the lack of supportive debriefing for judges about nasty stuff results in pent-up emotions that become redirected towards others who don’t deserve this. Unfortunately for men this is compounded by natural and/or social bias towards protecting females, such that nasty stuff when done or said by men towards women elicits much stronger disgust than when done by women towards men, and men’s expressed suffering about their treatment at the hands of women does not elicit as much empathy as the vice-versa. This results in mental associations for judges (and lawyers, police etc) between their anger/disgust feelings and the male persona in proportions considerably greater than would reflect the reality of what they were exposed to.

Further compounding this is the fact that judges, lawyers, police, social workers etc are exposed heavily to feminist, male-bashing propaganda through training, seminars and organizational relationships. Family Court Principal Judge Boshier frequently swanned around feminist conferences and hosted feminist groups to address his judges but refused totally to allow men’s groups a voice. This form of indoctrination encourages and increases the tendency to transfer all disgust and anger on to men generally and to transfer all empathy and concern on to women generally.

A related issue is workers’ own ego defence. Men, due to ‘protector’ genetic inheritance and social role expectations, are more likely than women to express their anger and to direct aggressive counter-attacks towards others who threaten their family, interests and personal status. A man is more likely to tell the social worker to “fuck off and mind your own business”, more likely to tell the Lawyer for Child to “stop brainwashing and misrepresenting my children you asshole”, and more likely to show his disgust towards the judge who sanitizes everything the female litigant did wrong and exaggerates everything he did wrong. Few people, unless they specifically work on their reactions and develop necessary skills through competent guidance and support, are able to maintain objective consideration of the evidence, issues and children’s interests that is not distorted by their (counter-transference) reactions towards the male who threatens their status like that. Again, the tendency to be protective towards females means that such indignant, ego-defensive reactions are less strong when females speak or behave disrespectfully towards the officials. This phenomenon results commonly in sexist injustice, for example, in vendettas by CYF social workers against individual male ‘clients’ who offended them.
I (mcb) recall about 2006 seeing judge Rhys Harrison become angry, when a self representing father implied he was corrupt. For a couple of minutes judge Harrison appeared to be becoming more and more angry in a narcissistic rage. I was just becoming extremely concerned for the father, when judge Harrison snapped out of it and the hearing continued normally and properly. In essence, there was no particular problem caused, but it did show to me how easily human factors could run completely off the rails. This is why having a working and effective complaints system is so important, rather than a non-working illusion as at present.
MoMA referred to feminist training of judges: Feminist Training for legal worker$

It has all been a bit too serious so far, so a bit of lighter amusement by bloodsport:

9 Responses to “Human Factors involved in working as a judge”

  1. Dan Johnston says:

    While I am in no way defending them, Judges are in fact Human like you or I. Some are Alcoholics, some are druggies, some are abusive to their families, and some believe their position places them above the law. As an example, I met one Judge years ago that had not had a sober day on the Bench for over 20 years. He could not remember one day of those 20 odd years. God only knows what his decisions were like. Another I knew of had testicular cancer. Needless to say that had a tremendous impact on mood and decisions.

    The problem with those Judges and the plethora of others is that like Police, they cover for one another and rationalize behavior of their fellow Judges. How many times have you heard one Judge refer to another as “an experienced Judge”. That’s code, in my world, for a cover-up and rationalization for a prior decision in the absence of an objective look at the facts before them.

    In my view the whole Judicial system is broken beyond repair. (as in he Police, WINZ, Probation, and CYF systems along with many others.) Even if the dysfunctional Judges are dealt with we still have a broken system that does not work. On that note I remember having to remove a 30 year professional from their job as they were grossly incompetent, and that was common knowledge known to everyone around him, but nobody took action for 30 years until I came along. A fine example of a cover-up of a fellow “professional” in combination with a cronyism element. Because of our small population and rampant nepotism and cronyism those 30 year incompetents only ever get promoted and are never ever dealt with appropriately.

    My thoughts for what they are worth.

  2. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Dan, thank you very much.

    This is why having a working and effective complaints system is so important, rather than a non-working illusion as at present.

  3. golfa says:

    #2 Not really Murray ….. “The (Judicial Conduct) Commissioner does not make ‘merit determinations on judicial misconduct’, as the plaintiff was wont to suggest. Rather, as (Crown counsel) put it, he operates as a clearing house for complaints.” – Justice Stephen Kos

  4. golfa says:

    #3 oops, I mean I concur Murray.

  5. MurrayBacon says:

    The Health and Disability Commissioner as established by Ron Patterson provides an excellent example of professional discipline. Of course the medical profession’s self managed discipline was removed after the medical profession had some degree of difficulty with performing this task themselves. (I was a very small part of that problem, as a layperson on panels.) There were fully justified complaints that determinations took too long and less justified complaints that the panels were not independent of the medical profession.

    Real Estate Agents – not the best of examples.
    Engineers – seem to negotiate most complaints to consumer satisfaction, avoiding legal process.
    Teachers – reasonably well working system, despite downward Government pressures on teachers wages.
    Psychologists – reasonably well working self managed system.
    Police Complaints – reasonably well working system, though its claims to be independent of police are generally thought to be sadly deluded.
    Legal workers complaints – have a laugh!

    So there are many good examples of competent and working complaints systems, both in NZ and overseas, for other professions and for judges too. One good example of a working judicial complaints system is the USA federal complaints system. State systems are generally not as well viewed.

    So NZ judges stand out both in refusing to have independent and competent review, or even admit this might be necessary. In my opinion, that puts them into mental hospital territory.

  6. MurrayBacon says:

    Correction: Psychologists – reasonably well working self managed system except where familycaught$ involved.

    There is an old saying that you can judge the integrity of a group of people, by how they treat their weakest, poorest, sickest or most marginalised members.

    This article highlights how seniour legal workers (I just cannot call them a profession) treat their juniour members, in particular their juniour women. Women may be the majority, but they are still seriously marginalised.

    I guess seniour legal workers treat their member better than that. (Sick joke.)

    Even sharks and real estate agents treat their young more equitably than that.

  7. MurrayBacon says:

    Similar principle seems work on whole nations too – see The Guardian UK

  8. voices back from the bush says:

    @1 you twice mentioned the word “cronyism” in summarizing judicial behavior. I agree, the lawyers seem to be particularly compliant as well. Imagine if they had to pass drug and sobriety tests. You’d think someone had hit the firealarm.

  9. MurrayBacon says:

    Questions over UK police officer Rebekah Sutcliffe who bared her breast during a drunken rant

    By Barbara Davies 5:17 PM Saturday Dec 3, 2016 Daily Mail

    The article below covers criticism of the lady police officer. Such criticisms take very little effort to put together and help the writer to feel good about themself. This is called scapegoating. It carries an implication that the “problem” has been solved and everyone can again be confident that the police are ok.
    But is this really true?
    Does it matter if it isn’t true?

    My guess is that in this case police, are still full of problems.
    It does matter to women police officers, as it affects the quality of their employment environment within the police force. Through this quality, it impacts on policewomen’s quality of life.
    It also affects the quality of work that the policewomen are able or allowed to do.
    Through these, it affects police performance in society, especially towards women. (In a sense, maybe affects police impacts on LGBT people too, as they may be treated as “women”, by ignorant or homophobic men police officers.)

    Questions over UK police officer Rebekah Sutcliffe who bared her breast during a drunken rant
    By Barbara Davies
    5:17 PM Saturday Dec 3, 2016
    United Kingdom

    On paper, at the very least, the ideals behind this year’s Senior Women In Policing Conference seemed highly laudable indeed.
    Aimed at celebrating the achievements of Britain’s highest-ranking female police officers and enhancing their “profile and perception” among the public, the three-day event organised by Greater Manchester Police was hosted by BBC presenter Steph McGovern and featured a charity fashion show, a disco and, rather unfortunately given what followed, copious amounts of alcohol.
    Among the inspirational women who spoke at the Manchester Hilton was the force’s most senior female officer, Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe, who reflected on mutual support, co-operation and the importance of female colleagues working together.
    But just hours after making that uplifting speech – and having consumed several glasses of wine – thrice-married mother-of-three Ms Sutcliffe launched a vicious and very public verbal attack on a female colleague that made a mockery of the SWIP conference last May.
    Rounding on Superintendent Sarah Jackson for having a breast enhancement operation, she told her she would never again be taken seriously because of her cosmetic surgery and would be judged solely “on the size of your t**s”.
    To make her point, a drunk Ms Sutcliffe, 47, dramatically pulled down the front of her dress and bared her own left breast to Supt Jackson, 45, one of the conference organisers.
    “Look at these. Look at these,” Ms Sutcliffe told her. “These are the breasts of someone who has had three children. They are ugly, but I don’t feel the need to pump myself full of silicone to get self-esteem.” Delivering a final bitter coup de mort, she added: “Sarah, it does not matter how hard you work now because you will always just be known as the girl who had the t** job.”
    Fast forward six months and the whole tawdry incident has received nationwide coverage in an eye-wateringly detailed disciplinary hearing which has resulted in Ms Sutcliffe – seen here in exclusive photographs taken at another party – being found guilty of gross misconduct, and the reputation of Greater Manchester’s women police officers greatly reduced.
    At the end of a two-day hearing, the panel which ruled on Ms Sutcliffe’s case has recommended that she keep her job despite being brought “to the very precipice of dismissal’.
    The three-strong panel, headed by Sir Tom Winsor, even questioned why the officer, who was responsible for counter terrorism and serious crime, drank so much given that she was meant to be on duty from 8 am the following day.
    – Daily Mail
    By Barbara Davies
    My suggestion is that Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe had heard years and years of men police officers discussing women’s bodies, including women police officer’s bodies, in ways that she was very uncomfortable about. Not only was she extremely uncomfortable about these discussions, she obviously felt that she had to listen in silence and make no comment back. Shoe couldn’t complain to the low lifes that were talking, she couldn’t complain to her police management superiors. She had no avenue to express her feelings, but had to “man up” and try to defuse these feelings totally on her own.
    Uninhibit her with CH3CHOOH, with which she had been self medicating to dull the chronic nagging pain and the explosive energy was released in her social breakdown.
    Although the situation may be analysed as an individual’s failure, it possibly can be analysed at as a management failure. This opportunity was steadfastly ignored by the Greater Manchester Police management, who did not want to address their own failure to provide a mental health safe environment for their police lady staff.
    For all of the verbal shit going around, this same environment is probably equally unsafe in mental health terms for many of the men staff. They were probably under similar levels of pressure to take this verbal abuse silently too. Off course sometimes women may discuss men in these ways, within earshot of men…..
    How is listening to abuse dangerous or unsafe?
    It wasn’t even directed at this person listening silently. Or was it?
    Many abusers know well the power of overhearing abuse and use this aspect of its instrumental and manipulative power.
    The Wikipedia article on homophobia has a section on Internalized homophobia, which is often fuelled by overhearing abuse more than receiving direct abuse.
    In the case of Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe, the dynamic was Gynophobia, an abnormal fear of women, a type of specific social phobia. But the Gynophobia article in Wikipedia doesn’t go into much detail. That is why I quoted from the Homophobia article in Wikipedia, for Internalised …phobia.
    Rebekah Sutcliffe was just repeating out loud the abuses that she had heard over many years. Maybe some of the punishment should be directed at the unsavoury speakers of those original words and at the management that allowed those conversations to be repeated through many years.
    They took no action when it mattered. It was their job to manage effectively and safely.
    Internalized homophobia
    Internalized homophobia refers to negative stereotypes, beliefs, stigma, and prejudice about homosexuality and LGBT people that a person with same-sex attraction turns inward on themselves, whether or not they identify as LGBT.[52][53][54] The degree to which someone is affected by these ideas depends on how much and which ideas they have consciously and subconsciously internalized.[55] These negative beliefs can be mitigated with education, life experience and therapy,[54][56] especially with gay-friendly psychotherapy/analysis.[57] Internalized homophobia also applies to conscious or unconscious behaviors which a person feels the need to promote or conform to cultural expectations of heteronormativity or heterosexism.[52] This can include extreme repression and denial coupled with forced outward displays of heteronormative behavior for the purpose of appearing or attempting to feel “normal” or “accepted.”[52] Expressions of internalized homophobia can also be subtle. Some less overt behaviors may include making assumptions about the gender of a person’s romantic partner, or about gender roles.[52] Some researchers also apply this label to LGBT people who support “compromise” policies, such as those that find civil unions acceptable in place of same-sex marriage.[58]

    Some studies have shown that people who are homophobic are more likely to have repressed homosexual desires.[59] In 1996, a controlled study of 64 heterosexual men (half said they were homophobic by experience, with self-reported orientation) at the University of Georgia found that men who were found to be homophobic (as measured by the Index of Homophobia)[60] were considerably more likely to experience more erectile responses when exposed to homoerotic images than non-homophobic men.[61] Another study in 2012 arrived at similar results when researchers found that students who came from “the most rigid anti-gay homes” were most likely to reveal repressed homosexual attraction.[62] The researchers said that this explained why some religious leaders who denounce homosexuality are later revealed to have secret homosexual relations.[62] They noted that “these people are at war with themselves and are turning this internal conflict outward.”[62] A 2016 eye-tracking study showed that heterosexual men with high negative impulse reactions toward homosexuals gazed for longer periods at homosexual imagery than other heterosexual men.[63]

    Researcher Iain R. Williamson, in his 1998 paper “Internalized Homophobia and Health Issues Affecting Lesbians and Gay Men” finds the term homophobia to be “highly problematic” but for reasons of continuity and consistency with the majority of other publications on the issue retains its use rather than using more accurate but obscure terminology.[54] The phrase internalized sexual stigma is sometimes used in place to represent internalized homophobia.[61] An internalized stigma arises when a person believes negative stereotypes about themselves, regardless of where the stereotypes come from. It can also refer to many stereotypes beyond sexuality and gender roles. Internalized homophobia can cause discomfort with and disapproval of one’s own sexual orientation. Ego-dystonic sexual orientation or egodystonic homophobia, for instance, is a condition characterized by having a sexual orientation or an attraction that is at odds with one’s idealized self-image, causing anxiety and a desire to change one’s orientation or become more comfortable with one’s sexual orientation. Such a situation may cause extreme repression of homosexual desires.[60] In other cases, a conscious internal struggle may occur for some time, often pitting deeply held religious or social beliefs against strong sexual and emotional desires. This discordance can cause clinical depression, and a higher rate of suicide among LGBT youth (up to 30 percent of non-heterosexual youth attempt suicide) has been attributed to this phenomenon.[55] Psychotherapy, such as gay affirmative psychotherapy, and participation in a sexual-minority affirming group can help resolve the internal conflicts, such as between religious beliefs and sexual identity.[61] Even informal therapies that address understanding and accepting of non-heterosexual orientations can prove effective.[55] Many diagnostic “Internalized Homophobia Scales” can be used to measure a person’s discomfort with their sexuality and some can be used by people regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Critics of the scales note that they presume a discomfort with non-heterosexuality which in itself enforces heternormativity.[60]
    So, hearing abuse without working through the internal issues, can result in internalised phobias. These may cause a wide range of improper reactions, which are dangerous to self and may also harm others.
    Thus, judge’s failure to address hearing about abuse, may result in wrongful and damaging behaviours to others.
    This is unprofessional behaviour!
    I am sure that this isn’t news to anyone.
    Special thanks to MoMa for identifying this psychological dynamic above.
    PS: The breasts displayed for comparison with the breasts under discussion, were not ugly at all. This was clear from the amount of careful observation by others present, when observation was not necessary for work purposes.

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