Criminal Law This Actually Happened…

A thoroughly weird true Criminal law story I witnessed first hand.

So when a judge retires and starts to take his pension what does he do with all his newfound free time?

Does he play with the grandkids?

Does he watch Judge Judy all day?

Does he do volunteer work?

I guess it is true that each judge does whatever the heck they want to do once they retire.

But I witnessed a weird one last week.

I was out at a preliminary hearing for a client who was charged with domestic abuse.

At preliminary hearings what they do is usually schedule them all for the same time namely 9 AM and then sort through them in the quickest way possible.

So I’m sitting out there with my client and in walks a retired judge.

Without naming names, I have known this judge for at least 30 years.
We got to talking and I asked him what he was doing out here.

What he said floored me.

He said he was representing a client on a retail theft!

I kid you not. It was not a family member or friend, it was a paying client.

That’s right.

The judge who probably heard 1000 retail thefts while he was on the bench was representing a paying client on that charge.

I thoroughly admire him for doing it.

And it gets better.

As you can imagine retail theft is not up there with murder cases in the grand scheme of things.

But in order to get the case worked out at the preliminary hearing, you need the consent of the arresting officer.

And in this particular case, the arresting officer was not being cooperative at all with the retired judge.

I cannot imagine what was going through the mind of the judge during this process.

Why am I here?

I could be out golfing…

And there was one final awkward moment in this whole process.

What do you call a retired judge who is now a defense attorney?

Do you call him attorney Smith or judge attorney Smith or retired judge attorney Smith?

No one seemed to know.

I sure did not.
It made for quite an interesting morning.


I couldn’t be making these stories up.

Thanks for reading.

Pittsburgh wrongful death, car accident and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully.