As Judge Gregory Roach retires, I find myself contemplating his successful career in Worcester. Here are some of my reflections:
Though I’ve never held a judgeship, I can imagine that the job is incredibly challenging. Judges must dissect mountains of testimonies and discern the core facts of the case. As attorneys, we bear the responsibility of persuading the judge that our version of the story is accurate, hoping for a decision in our client’s favor.
Frustration arises when a judge lacks understanding of the law, or the requisite level of proof, or fails to recognize the shift in the burden of proof to the other party. In such situations, we, as attorneys, must step up to educate the court. Judge Roach consistently demonstrated his knowledge of the law, something I appreciated every time I appeared in his court.
In my eyes, an ideal judge possesses a deep understanding of the law, stays updated with all relevant case law, and aptly applies the law without any additional effort on my part. I should concentrate on facts and how they align with the law, thereby justifying why the court should rule in my client’s favor.
It benefits greatly when a judge actively listens to the facts, and when fitting, provides feedback on potential rulings based on the presented facts. This feedback is particularly beneficial in Family and Probate Court and Housing Court cases. Sometimes, a nudge from the judge is all it takes for parties to settle a matter.
Ultimately, a judge must stay neutral throughout proceedings. Favoritism should never influence their decisions. Relying on the case facts and law is crucial as each verdict impacts individuals and families significantly.