ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF AN HIGHLY RESILIENT JUDGE: A CASE STUDY OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD JONES
BY CHARLES AARON ERICKSEN
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment Of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR OF EDUCATION
SEATTLE UNIVERSITY 2010 Approval Signatures:
Committee Chair, Carol L. Weaver, Ph.D.
Committee Member, John Jacob Gardiner, Ph.D.
Committee Member, Michael O‘Connor, Ph.D.
Director, Educational Leadership Program, Roberto Peña, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Education, Sue Schmitt, Ed.D.
ABSTRACT ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF AN HIGHLY RESILIENT JUDGE: A CASE STUDY OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD JONES ERICKSEN, Charles Aaron, Ed.D. Seattle University, 2010, 168 pp. Supervisor: Carol L. Weaver, Ph.D. The purpose of this study was to explore judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. This exploratory case study examined the coping skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of presiding over the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway (State v. Ridgway, 2001), who was known as the Green River killer. This study used a variety of data collection strategies including interviews, document analysis, and courtroom observations that addressed the following themes: identity and development, crucibles, judicial stressors, and protective processes. Results of this study indicated that judges have a high need for resiliency due to significant stress resulting from isolation, workload pressures, safety and security concerns, highly emotional cases, public scrutiny, and media pressure. Judge Jones was found to be an highly resilient judge possessing a number of protective processes including a high degree of emotional and social intelligence, strong personal and professional identity, self-awareness, self-confidence, optimism, self-efficacy, empathy, ability to recognize emotions in others, and excellent communication skills. In addition to a high degree of tolerance for distress, Judge Jones possessed a number of specific coping and cognitive mechanisms including anticipatory coping, sense of humor, strong social support, and an active involvement in leisure time activities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Page LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
Need for the Study
Significance of Study
Definition of Key Terms
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
Research Process and Procedures
Sources of Data
Dependability and Validity
Human Subject Protection
CHAPTER 4: PRESENTATION OF THE FINDINGS
Identity and Development
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Review of Methodology
Discussion of Findings
Recommendations for Educators
Implications for Future Research
APPENDIXES Appendix A: Consent Form
Appendix B: Interview Questions
Appendix C: Index Tree Display of Categories
LIST OF TABLES
1. Resilient Attributes
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS To my Committee Chair, Dr. Carol Weaver. Your support, encouragement and guidance have been unwavering throughout my three years of doctoral studies. Many thanks for guiding me through this process. I am blessed to know an educational leader such as you. To my excellent committee, Dr. John Jacob Gardiner and Dr. Michael Oâ€˜Connor, and my Academic Advisor, Dr. Roberto Pena. I could never have asked for a better group of people to serve as my mentors and teachers through the journey, many thanks to you all. To my friends in cohort 32, it has been a most rewarding experience getting to know each one of you. Your support, encouragement and excellent camaraderie went a long way in making this journey worthwhile. To my family for all your years of support, even when my journey was not making much sense to you, thank you. Finally, there is no one who deserves more thanks than the Honorable Richard Jones. Words can hardly express how much I appreciate your generosity, commitment to justice, and deep humanity â€“ lessons that I have learned not just academically but as life skills to emulate.
This dissertation is dedicated to my father.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Need for the Study The United States system of government is based upon the principle that â€•an independent, fair, and competent judiciary will interpret and apply the laws that govern usâ€– (ABA, 2004, p.1). The judiciary, collectively the judges, magistrates and other adjudicators within the third branch of government, is a fundamental component of the United States justice system. Judges not only preside over cases, but play a central role in court leadership for which they are often ill equipped (Tobin, 2004). If the judiciary aims to be truly independent, then it must not only be free of extraneous influence, but also must have judges who individually exhibit the highest level of behavior necessary to maintain public trust and confidence (ABA). The demands of the court environment place judges in highly stressful situations, be it the psychologically demanding case schedule or the emotionally traumatic case (Miller, Flores, & Dolezilek, 2007). In the United States, judges have widely varying roles and responsibilities in the federal, state, and local court systems. At all levels these environments provide considerable stressors for the modern day judge owing to greater media attention and increased public scrutiny, escalating the importance of understanding how judges respond in stressful situations (Chamberlain & Miller, 2008). Unfortunately, the literature about judges has been dominated by research on judicial decision making, neglecting research on judicial stress, temperament, and what it is like to be a judge (Hunter, 2006; Merseburgh-Martin, 2003).
The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency (see page 19 for resiliency definition) through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The central role that judges play as leaders of the judicial branch coupled with the large volume of anecdotal information on judicial stress, burnout, and ethical behavior amplify the timeliness and significance of this study. This was a qualitative case study, a tradition that allowed the researcher to observe the natural conditions of the participant, who was selected by the researcher for his superior reputation of handling a high profile case. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aims to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Chapter 1 presents the background of the study, specifies the problem and describes the significance of the study, and provides an overview of the methodology. This chapter concludes by noting the delimitations and limitations of the study and defining key concepts. Background A recent literature review indicated researchers are focusing greater attention on judicial stress and burnout. While high levels of judicial and courtroom stress have been
written about extensively (Chamberlain & Miller, 2008; Coyle, 1995; Eels & Showalter, 1994), only a few researchers have attempted to study specific stressors and/or coping strategies in judges (Jaffe, Crooks, Dunford-Jackson & Town, 2006; Zimmerman, 1981). Chamberlain and Miller suggested â€•the need for future research aimed at evaluating the extent and prevalence of judge stress is warranted because judges are potentially exposed to stressors that inhibit occupational functioningâ€– (p. 248). Zimmerman (1981) identified several sources of stress that make the judicial career extremely taxing such as burgeoning caseloads, limited resources, budget challenges, an ill-defined leadership structure, and collegiality issues among separately elected or appointed bench mates. Zimmerman found other stressors related to the unique nature of judging, such as the pressure of making significant decisions, social isolation, managing a courtroom under highly emotional circumstances and dealing with caustic lawyers or ill-prepared litigants. Some stressors were associated with specific judicial assignments that involve an endless stream of emotionally charged human dilemmas such as child custody hearings, domestic violence, family dissolution, and child abuse and neglect cases. In recent years, concern for the personal safety of judges and their families has added an additional stressor (Chamberlain & Miller, 2008; Eells & Showalter, 1994). Each of these stressors inherent in the judicial profession provided a foundation for the context of this study.
Transition from Lawyer to Judge Unlike other professions in which professional development is a process, lawyers appointed or elected to a judgeship face unique transition challenges. Catlin (1992) noted: Lawyers don‘t become good judges by the wave of a magic wand. Not even the best lawyers. To reappear behind the bench as a skilled jurist is a tricky maneuver. Going from adversary to adjudicator means changing one‘s attitude, learning and using new skills, and in some cases severing old ties. In many jurisdictions, judges must learn their new roles by the seat of their pants. (p. 1) The experiences recounted by new judges suggest that even the lawyer with extensive trial experience finds the transition from advocate to mediator or impartial decision maker difficult (Zimmerman, 2000). Zimmerman found the new role created different relationships with friends, relatives, neighbors, attorneys, and other court personnel. The new judge confronts many unfamiliar substantive and administrative problems, ranging from managing court staff and budgets to areas of criminal law and civil litigation (District Court, Committee on Stress Management, 1996). Isolation Australian Justice Michael Kirby wrote, ―The transition from practicing lawyer to judicial officer involves a journey into loneliness‖ (cited in Stephens, 1995, p. 3). Single judge courts physically isolate many of these judges from their peers. In multiple judge courts, where professional ethics and practice discourage collegial interaction in the decision-making process and workloads limit the extent of social interaction, a high degree of psychological isolation exists (Zimmerman, 2000). Zimmerman (2000) stated that ―judicial isolation is an inherent part of the role judges must play in society‖ (p. 6). Judicial isolation may occur in large measure because
of the restrictions placed on judges as a result of the Code of Judicial Conduct (ABA, 2004). Approximately 70% of the judges interviewed by Zimmerman stated that a large source of stress emerges from the restrictions imposed by the code. Zimmerman selected these statements made by judges to represent the stress presented by the transition from attorney to judge: Before becoming a judge, I had no idea or warning, of how isolating it would be. Except with very close friends, you cannot relax socially. Judging is the most isolating and lonely of callings. The isolation is gradual. Most of your friends are lawyers, and you can‘t carry on with them as before. When you become a judge, you lose your first name! It was the isolation that I was not prepared for. After all these years on the bench, the isolation is my major dissapointment. The Chief Judge warned me: You‘re entering a monastery when you join this circuit. I live and work in a space capsule—alone with stacks of paper. Your circle of friends certainly becomes much smaller. (p. 4) Public Scrutiny As public figures, judges are always in a fishbowl. In all but the largest of cities, judges are under the watchful eye of lawyers, public and the media. In particular, the media and public closely monitor judges‘ actions, statements, and decisions in high profile cases (Murphy, Hannaford, Loveland & Munsterman, 1998). Judicial decisions are always subject to criticism and the majority of the public has little understanding for how the law works (Satter, 1990). In Washington State where this study took place, judges must endure the added stress of running for election which generates substantial political, financial, and media pressure (Streb, 2007). Caseloads; Lack of Control The sense of insufficient time to adequately perform responsibilities remains a common stressor among professionals (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Judges, particularly those in the trial courts, agonize over the tension between burgeoning caseloads,
productivity, and the quality of individual justice (Coyle, 1995). Judge Satter (1990) described the daily grind of the trial court judge: Each morning when I arrived at the courthouse, I went straight to my chambers and then spent the day on the bench. During recesses, lawyers lined up outside my chambers door for me to sign ex parte orders. There was no time for coffee breaks or chats with colleagues. At the end of the day I reviewed my trial notes and signed the arrest warrants placed on my desk. By then the courthouse was deserted. I left with a laden briefcase. There was nobody to say goodnight to. In the evening I retired to my study to look up a puzzling point of law that had come up at the trial, prepare a jury charge for the next day, or, if I had the energy, attack my backlog of undecided cases. I wrestled with my dilemmas alone, reflecting in solitude and reaching solitary decisions. (pp. 35-36) Eels and Showalter (1994) studied work-related stress among American trial court judges and found a positive correlation between stress and case variety, case backload, and the pressure to move cases. The overrepresentation of Type A or high stress personalities found among judges in their study amplified these stressors. Eels and Showalter found that the most stressful aspects of judicial work related to â€•poorly prepared or disrespectful counsel, exercising judicial management and discretion, and highly emotional cases under public scrutinyâ€– (p. 71). Highly Emotional Cases Several studies have examined issues related to members of the public who serve on juries. One cluster of studies examined jurorsâ€˜ emotional reactions to serving on capital trials (Antonio, 2006; Castanzo & Castanzo, 1994; Kaplan & Winget, 1992; Keilitz, 2001; National Center for State Courts, 1998). Jurors who served on highly emotional cases (e.g., murder, aggravated sexual assault, and child abuse) were more likely to experience symptoms of depression than were jurors serving on non-traumatic trials (Shuman, Hamilton, & Daley, 1994). Despite these findings, few studies have
looked at the impact of highly traumatic cases on judges. Notwithstanding the lack of research, several articles anecdotally referenced the experience of judicial burnout resulting from the endless stream of emotionally charged cases (Keilitz, 2001; Zimmerman, 1990). The impact of judicial burnout has serious implications for the judicial system above and beyond the damage to the affected judge, causing many judges to view an assignment to a specialized docket such as domestic violence as ―high risk, low-benefit, and consequently, undesirable‖ (Keilitz, p.4). Recently, a budding interest arose in the area of vicarious trauma as it relates to judges and jurors who are affected by the traumatic experiences of emotionally charged cases (Jaffe et al., 2006). Jaffe et al. argued that the toll of graphic testimony or grisly evidence can be particularly insidious, placing judges at risk of vicarious trauma (p.13). Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice Patrick LeSage addressed the impact of viewing videotapes of murder victims being tortured: I can control myself pretty well in the courtroom when I'm on the podium, but when I'm in a surrounding such as this, certain things will trigger tears. You never know what it will be. The tears will just roll down my cheeks. I told the judges that we all have emotions; don't be embarrassed or ashamed. We all have human emotions; that is part of being human. (cited in Makin, 2002, p.1) The High Profile or Notorious Case The high profile or ―notorious case‖ is an unusually rare event placing different and magnified strains on the courtroom actors (Hannaford, 2008). These sensational trials typically involve a horrendous crime and relentless media attention fueled by intense public fascination. In addition to dealing with the media in high profile cases, the trial court judge and court staff face unique management challenges such as the need for
increased security, adjusting the existing caseload, jury considerations, managing an emotionally charged courtroom, and dealing with post verdict trauma (Murphy et al., 1998). Murphy et al. emphasized that ―Handling a notorious case may be unlike anything a trial judge and court have ever experienced before. Pitfalls, dangers, and opportunities for embarrassment abound‖ (p. xi). Extraordinary demands on the court resulting from a notorious case call for the purposeful selection of the trial judge with special consideration given to the judges‘ experience, temperament, coping skills, reputation in the legal community, and ability to handle extensive media pressure (Murphy et al., 1998). Murphy et al. cautioned that ―The pressures of being the focus of daily television and newspaper coverage are intense and can exact an incredible physical and psychological toll. A notorious case can disrupt not only the judge‘s professional life but also the judge‘s home and family life for months on end‖ (p. 7). Chief Justice LeSage (cited in Makin, 2002) received praise for his handling of one of Canada‘s most notorious trials. In recalling the impact of the emotionally charged trial and his decision to quit the case shortly after the conviction but prior to the sentencing proceeding, Chief Justice LeSage remarked: I didn't expect that the visual depiction of crime would be so traumatic. It was like being hit with a sledge hammer. It was a very traumatic experience to watch a crime being committed, particularly against wonderful, young children. I concluded that I was not physically and mentally able to conduct the dangerousoffender hearing. (p. 1)
Safety Concerns Judges and court staff have increasingly become the targets of violence such as threats, inappropriate communications, invasive approaches, and physical assaults (Bell, 2007; Chamberlain & Miller, 2008; Weiner, 2000). Weapons are frequently confiscated at court security gates, providing additional evidence that judges are potential targets of violent actions (Constantine, 2000). In 2005, the highly publicized shooting at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta and the murder of a federal judge‘s family in Chicago alarmed the judicial community and sent shockwaves throughout the nation (Miller, Flores, & Dolezilek, 2007). Judge Kerr Howe (1996) commented on judges‘ enduring safety concerns, ―fear is always there . . . that a defendant may try to harm me or some member of my family . . . I try not to dwell on it‖ (p. 5). The Effects of Judicial Stress The effect of work-related stress on judges has received considerable attention in the media but scant social science or educational research has been conducted. The few studies that examined this phenomenon established that work-related stress among judges was a determinant in cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms such as impaired concentration and decision making, temper outbursts, and expressing annoyance to lawyers and litigants (Eells & Showalter, 1994; Hunter, 2006; Memory, 1982). Showalter and Martell‘s (1985) study of 92 judges identified the following psychophysiological symptoms related to judicial stress: disturbed digestive functions including nausea; chest pains usually ascribed to cardiac dysfunction; difficulty in breathing or sense of insufficient air in the lungs; difficulty sleeping; and a feeling of being tense or agitated.
They also identified symptoms associated with interpersonal conflict that highly stressed judges experienced such as: uncharacteristic outbursts of temper, frequent arguments, a sense of isolation, and a heightened sense of self-consciousness in social situations. Finally, Chamberlain and Miller (2008) suggested that ―stress may affect the way in which judges protect jurors from the media and potential hostility‖ (p. 238). Figley (2002) reported vicarious trauma reactions in health care providers, attorneys, first responders, military personnel, supportive services, volunteers, and media personnel. While judges were not included in Figley‘s study, Jaffe et al. (2006) indicated that judges also experience vicarious trauma. They found that in the judiciary vicarious trauma is rarely if ever discussed and intervention strategies for psychological reactions are not part of the culture. Because judges frequently deal with trauma, victimization and violence, they may also experience vicarious traumatization and compassion fatigue (Osofsky, Putnam & Lederman, 2008). Memory (1982) suggested that work-related stress may contribute to improper judicial conduct. The occasional instance of judges‘ losing their temper and engaging in inappropriate colloquies with counsel or self-represented litigants was found to be a major cause of judicial disciplinary sanctions (Gray, 2002), and is frequently cited in judicial conduct complaints filed with the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct (Washington State Commission, 2005, 2006, 2007). Purpose Statement The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court
judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aimed to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Significance of Study What sets this study apart, with its focus on the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced judge, is that most judicial studies and empirical research have focused on judicial decision making (Merseburgh-Martin, 2003). Because judges as a group have been underrepresented in the social science and educational research, there is a void in the literature examining the important characteristics and attributes that contribute to their ability to function effectively in their professional capacity. Future researchers of the judiciary will benefit from this study because it provides a unique perspective on judicial character and behavior. While the general construct of resiliency has received considerable attention (Benard, 1991, 1996, 2006; Garmezy, 1971, 1991; Grotberg, 1995; Henderson, 1998; Masten, 2001; Rutter, 1979, 2007; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992, 2001; Wolin & Wolin, 1993), this study contributed to the developing line of social science research on adult resiliency (Bonanno, 2004, 2005) by adding a judicial officer to the literature. Scholars and judicial educators will gain valuable insights by learning about adult resiliency from a different perspective.
Researchers have studied the physical and mental effects of serving as a juror (Miller et al., 2007; Murphy et al., 1998), yet until recently little research has been conducted on vicarious trauma in judges who are frequently exposed to gruesome trial evidence in matters of child abuse, domestic violence, murder, rape, and mental illness. Jaffe et al. (2006) stressed that ―we need to ask what skills, values, and attitudes they need to bring with them and to develop as they continue their careers. How can they balance the need to be human and engaged in their work with their need to maintain professional distance‖ (p. 12)? This study sought to add to the literature on judicial stress resulting from highly emotional cases. In addition, it is hoped that by examining an exemplary judge more will be learned about the relationship between resiliency and judicial self-efficacy. The issues related to judicial resiliency raised within the context of this study have organizational implications and significance as well. Griller (2008) called attention to the inordinate pressures and challenges judges face as leaders of the court. He stated, ―Courts are complicated, difficult organizations to lead, let alone change‖ (p. 1). Individual leaders who lack resiliency can do great damage to their own personal careers as well as their organization (Kellerman, 2004). Understanding the stressors judges face can inform judicial educators as they seek to address the specific managerial and organizational skills that judges need to function at the highest levels of professional competence. Despite the dramatic growth in organized judicial education over the last 40 years (Armytage, 1996), the field has received relatively little study. One of the places where
research and study is lacking is the role of self-enhancement curricula in judicial education. Few efforts have been made to examine the emerging trends and ask whether the current models of judicial education are meeting the unique needs of judges, or the public they serve. In addition, a plethora of research and literature exists on the subject of judicial decision making (Memory, 1982; Merseburgh-Martin, 2003) but few studies have examined how judges are affected by their work. It is hoped that this study will serve judicial educators in building education programs that assist judges in remaining as effective as possible in the face of extreme stress. Finally, the study of Judge Jones adds to leadership theory. The Green River murder trial (State v. Ridgway, 2001) provided a uniquely visceral context for illuminating Judge Jones‘s exemplary leadership qualities under extremely stressful circumstances. His handling of State v. Ridgway was inspirational, receiving national recognition as a model of judicial excellence (Murray, 2007). Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study of judicial resiliency was drawn from the author‘s studies on wellness. Herbert Dunn (1977) first coined the term wellness to signify: An integrated method of functioning which is oriented to maximizing the potential of which an individual is capable, within the environment where he is functioning. It requires that the individual maintain a continuum of balance and purposeful direction within the environment where he is functioning. (pp. 4-5) Dunn‘s (1977) work led to the recognition that a tremendous difference exists between a ‗health‘ model and a wellness model. The fundamental essence of a wellness model is that psychological health and dysfunction can be viewed as a continuum of
human potential. Ardell (1982) described a wellness continuum extending from low levels characterized by health robbing behaviors to higher levels of wellness characterized by personal responsibility for oneâ€˜s health and a conscious commitment to growth and balance. Ardell argued that in contrast, a health model is primarily concerned with the absence of illness and generally not associated with self-actualization and wholeness. An interest in the study of psychological well-being arose from the recognition that the field of psychology has traditionally focused on pathology and suffering rather than the causes of positive functioning (Maslow, 1968; Rogers & Stevens, 1967). Antonovsky (1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996) coined the term "salutogenesis" to mean well-being, preservation, safety and prosperity. The pathogenic orientation leads to a dichotomy that classifies individuals as either sick or healthy (Antonovsky, 1987). Salutogenisis focuses on the causes of well-being in contrast to the reasons for specific harmful and degenerative processes found in a pathogenic orientation (Antonovsky, 1996). From a research perspective, a salutogenic approach focuses on why individuals demonstrate resiliency despite significant stress. From this perspective it seeks to identify the forces that promote resiliency and influence a person positively. This holistic slant makes salutogenesis relevant to this study. As this discussion suggests, a great deal of consonance exists between the salutogenic model of wellness and the nature of people. Both are built upon the concept of holism; â€•the complex and dynamic interplay between work characteristics, personal
characteristics, behaviour and health outcomesâ€– (Kompier & Taris, 2005, p. 66). Likewise, both a model of wellness and the nature of people provide complementary notions regarding the potential for growth through transformative learning. Research Questions The guiding question this study sought to answer was â€œwhat are the essential characteristics of an highly resilient judge?â€– That general question subsumed several related questions: 1. What are the essential characteristics of resiliency demonstrated by Judge Jones over his judicial career and in particular during a high profile case? 2. How do the findings emerging from this study compare to recent theories on resiliency? 3. To what degree has Judge Jones experienced an increase in resiliency as a result of his career experiences? Definition of Key Terms For the purpose of this study, the following key terms are defined: Autonomy Autonomy is a category of protective factors that refer to such qualities as selfdetermination, independence, and possessing an internal locus of control (Benard, 1996). In relation to resiliency, autonomy includes individual traits such as: mastery, the sense of doing something well; self-efficacy, the refusal to accept negative messages about oneself; and detachment, distancing oneself from dysfunction (Benard).
Coping Coping addresses the person‘s cognitive and behavioral ―response aimed at diminishing the physical, emotional, and psychological burden that is linked to stressful life events and daily hassles‖ (Snyder, 1999, p. 5). According to Snyder, it is through coping that individuals are able to survive the many challenges they face in life. Crucibles Bennis and Thomas (2002) defined a crucible as: A trial and a test, a point of deep self-reflection that forced them [leaders] to question who they were and what mattered to them …. invariably they emerged from the crucible stronger and more sure of themselves and their purpose– changed in some fundamental way. (p. 4). Ex Parte A generally prohibited communication “from one party only, usually without notice to or argument from the adverse party‖ (Garner, 1999, p. 597). While a judge is normally required to meet with all parties in a case, there are certain circumstances where a judge is allowed to meet with just one side (ex parte) to sign certain orders (Garner). Hardiness Hardiness is a group of attitudes, skills, and abilities that help the individual build on stressful circumstances rather than be undermined by them (Maddi & Khoshaba, 2005). Hardiness, as proposed by Kobasa (1979), is composed of three elements: commitment, control and challenge. Commitment is the ability to persist at whatever one is doing even when stresses rise to precarious levels. Control is the ability to feel and act as if one is influential in the face of life‘s contingencies (Kobasa, 1982). Challenge is the belief that change rather than stability is normal and that the anticipation of changes
represents opportunities for growth rather than threats to security (Kobasa, Maddi & Kahn, 1982). Judge ―A public official appointed or elected to hear and decide legal matters in court‖ (Garner, 1999, p. 844). Judicial Education A planned continuing education activity to assist judges in the continuing development of knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes throughout their judicial careers. The United States has 67 state and national organizations actively engaged in providing continuing judicial education (Conner, 1999). Judicial Resiliency Integrating the definitions of resiliency and transformative learning used in this study, judicial resiliency refers to a judge‘s capacity to rise above adversity by developing skills, abilities and attitudes that ―expand and ripen into lasting strengths or aspects of the survivor‘s self‖ (Wolin & Wolin, 1993, p. 5). Judiciary The term refers collectively to the judges, magistrates and other adjudicators who form the core of a judicial system (sometimes referred to as the "bench"). The United States judiciary comprises a system of state and federal courts, tribunals, and administrative bodies, as well as the judges and other judicial officials who preside over them (Garner, 1999).
Jurist ―One who has thorough knowledge of the law; esp., a judge or an eminent legal scholar‖ (Garner, 1999, p. 860). Leadership Gardner (1990) defined leadership as ―the process of persuasion or example by which an individual (or leadership team) induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared by the leader and his or her followers‖ (p. 1). Burns (1978) asserted that ―leadership exists, when one or more persons engage others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality‖ (p. 33). This study uses elements of both definitions when considering a judge‘s role in court leadership. Court leadership involves judges and court administrators working in executive teams where they influence and are influenced by others. Protective Processes People overcome adversity through drawing upon their own internal strengths (i.e., resources, competencies, talents and skills) and through encountering situations in their environments (Rutter, 1999). Researchers hypothesize that those individuals who do better when faced with tragedy or trauma access more protective processes than those who don‘t do as well (Garmezy & Rutter, 1983; Garmezy, 1991). Resilience In this study, resilience is defined as ―the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful. It is an active process of endurance, self-righting, and growth in response to crisis and challenge‖ (Walsh, 1998b, p. 4). Resilience does not
actually imply invulnerability to stress, but rather the human capacity to deal with, overcome,
learn from or even be transformed by adversity (Grotberg, 1998). Further discussion of resiliency occurs on pages 28-33. Salutogenic Approach The salutogenic approach to research builds models based upon the experiences of healthy people rather than studying disease (pathogenic) or dysfunction (Antonovsky, 1987). Self-Efficacy Self-efficacy is defined as an individual's belief about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives (Bandura. 1997). Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves. Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four major processes: cognitive, motivational, affective, and selection processes. Transformative Learning Transformative learning is a process of examining, questioning, validating, and revising oneâ€˜s perceptions of their experiences (Mezirow, 1991). According to Mezirow (2000), â€•learning occurs in one of four ways: by elaborating existing frames of reference, by learning new frames of reference, by transforming points of view, or by transforming habits of mindâ€– (p. 19). Transformative learning is important to this study because it provides a model of adult development that addresses how ingrained and often unconscious habits and frames of reference cause individuals to view, interpret, and react
to their experiences in particular ways. These meaning perspectives and schemas regulate how individuals cope with stress and possibly how they can learn to be resilient. Vicarious Trauma Vicarious traumatization or secondary trauma refers to the cumulative effect of working with victims of traumatic events, or perpetrators, as part of everyday work (Jaffe et al., 2006). It is the stress resulting from empathizing and/or wanting to help a traumatized, victimized or suffering person (Jaffe et al.). Washington State Trial Court Judge A judge who serves on one of the several trial courts in Washington State. These courts include the Municipal Court, District Court and Superior Court. All trial court judges in Washington State must be lawyers and are elected to terms of four years on nonpartisan ballots in general elections (Washington State Courts, 2006). Assumptions Little is known about the protective processes judges use to cope with stressors, therefore these processes might best be studied through qualitative means which are useful in obtaining broad descriptive data. Another assumption is that a case study of one judge, who has demonstrated resiliency over the span of his judicial career, will contribute new and significant perspectives on the subject of adult resiliency. Since the basis for this study is to examine protective processes judges use to cope with stressors, an assumption is that a judge who experienced a high profile case might provide the best example of judicial resiliency. A final assumption is that the emerging portrait of this
judge will be of assistance to judicial educators and researchers looking to foster and sustain judicial wellness. Limitations This study is meant to contribute to a larger body of research on resiliency and judicial stress and was not intended to discover general laws or provide empirical evidence to support predictions of human behavior. Qualitative research focuses on the applicability of findings rather than generalizations (Patton, 2002). This study addresses the resiliency of one judge in a large metropolitan court who experienced a high profile case and is not generalizable beyond this study. Another limitation is that while there are judges in the administrative branch and the military, this study focuses on the state and federal levels of the judicial branch. Finally, a study such as this is limited by the ability of the respondent to describe his own behavior and to objectively view the processes and strategies he used in stressful or difficult situations. Corroborating interviews with colleagues and court staff were not considered because of the possibility of distorted responses due to the political nature of judicial positions (Patton, 2002). Subsequently, triangulation was limited to reviewing sources of data such as historical accounts, articles, media materials and courtroom observations. Summary Chapter 1 included an introduction, background on judicial stress, purpose of the study, significance of the study, contextual framework, definitions, assumptions and limitations, and research questions.
Chapter 2 contains a review of the related literature and the theoretical framework for this study on judicial resiliency. Within chapter 2, the topics of the historical perspective of resiliency theory, modern views of resiliency, leadership theory and adult development theory are discussed. Special attention is paid to continuing professional education and the development of judicial education. Chapter 3 describes the methodology of the study and includes discussion of the problem and purpose of the study, research questions, data collection, data analysis, limitations, dependability and validity, human subject protection, and summary. In chapter 4 the results of this studyâ€˜s exploration of the resilient attributes of Judge Richard Jones are presented. This chapter is organized into the following sections: identity and development, crucibles, judicial stressors and protective processes. Results drawn from in-depth interviews provide direct quotes that address the three research questions. Chapter 5 presents a summary of the study and a discussion of the results. This includes an interpretation of the findings and discussion regarding the relationship of the current study to the literature on resiliency. The chapter closes with recommendations for judicial educators and further research.
23 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE Introduction The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aimed to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Research on human resilience has been widely conducted in the areas of psychopathology, psychology, sociology and education during the past few decades (Benard, 2006). Commensurate with this interest in how people overcome adversity to lead healthy and productive lives, is growing research and practitioner attention to related constructs such as positive psychology (Seligman, 2002), wellness (Dunn, 1977), health promotion (Lalonde, 1974), restorative justice (Wexler, 2006), strengths-based social work (Saleeby, 1997), health realization (Mills, 1993), self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997), social capital (Putnam, 2000), multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983) and emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995). This strengths-based movement, according to Benard, grows out of the human service professionalâ€˜s attraction to â€•what has become a new
paradigm, a new way of thinking about and working with human beings across the lifespan that focuses on assets instead of deficitsâ€– (p. 197). The purpose of this chapter is to examine the research on human resiliency. This literature review is grounded in empirical, historical, and theoretical studies in the fields of psychology, sociology, leadership studies, and adult development. First, various definitions of resiliency are reviewed and a working definition for this study is adopted. Second, the historical roots of resiliency are examined and the characteristics of resiliency in children and adults are addressed. Third, major attributes of resilient individuals are presented as they are described in personality theory. Fourth, the psychological and emotional demands of leaders under stressful situations are examined supporting the relevance of resiliency to leadership. Finally, the research that relates to adult development and transformative learning is reviewed. Resiliency Since the 1970â€˜s, the subjects of stress and coping have received considerable empirical attention in the social and personality psychology, developmental psychology, and behavioral medicine literature (Masten, 2001). One construct that emerged from the research pertains to an individualâ€˜s capacity to maintain psychological and physical wellbeing despite suffering risk experiences. Resilience studies originally focused on high risk populations with an interest in children at risk for psychopathology and problems in development owing to emotional, developmental, economic, or environmental challenges (Masten). Early on, the field of study reflected an interest in not only what factors insulate and protect an individual but also how the protective processes exert their
influence (Rutter, 1999). The combination of an emerging emphasis in positive psychology (Seligman, 2002) and recent advances in the study of adult development suggests that resilience may have much broader applicability, with relevance to virtually any population that encounters acute or chronic stress (Rutter, 1993). Ultimately, the early research laid a foundation for the recognition that stress is ubiquitous and resilience is a much more common phenomena than previously thought (Masten). Definition of Resiliency In existing research studies, the construct "resilience" has varied meanings. In the early days of resiliency research the terms "invulnerable" and "invincible" were used to describe individuals who did well despite adversity (Rutter, 1993). Conversely, Rutter found these terms limiting as they implied an absolute resistance to damage. Rutter noted some of the inaccurate or misleading assumptions arising from the early resiliency research: No one has absolute resistance; rather, it is more appropriate to consider susceptibility to stress as a graded phenomenon. Some individuals are more resistant than others but everyone has their limits. Second, the term suggests that the characteristic applies to all risk circumstances. Obviously, that is a biologically implausible suggestion. There is a range of mechanisms by which risk factors operate and it must be anticipated that the features that constitute resilience will vary according to the risk mechanism. Third, the concept seems to imply that the characteristic is an intrinsic feature of the individual. That is misleading because research findings indicate that resilience may reside in the social context as much as in the individual as such. Fourth, the term suggests that it deals with an unchanging characteristic. That, too, is wrong because there is every reason to suppose that developmental changes will influence resilience just as they influence any other characteristic. (p. 626) Over the last 40 years, various definitions have emerged that address these concerns. For purposes of this study, resilience is defined as 窶付he capacity to rebound
from adversity strengthened and more resourceful. It is an active process of endurance, self-righting, and growth in response to crisis and challenge‖ (Walsh, 1998b, p. 4). Walsh proposed, ―The qualities of resilience enable people to heal from painful wounds, take charge of their lives, and go on to live fully and love well‖ (p. 4). In describing the severe challenges that often forge an individual‘s personality, Walsh (1998a) observed, ―Studies found that resilient persons became more substantial because they were sorely tested, endured suffering, and emerged with strength they might not have otherwise developed. They acquired a depth of experience and purposeful pursuits‖ (p. 269). Resiliency Theory The earliest literature on resiliency arose from longitudinal studies exploring a pathogenic model that focused on disease, illness, deviance, and pathology in high risk children (Garmezy, 1971; Werner & Smith, 1982). The emphasis was on determining the risk factors of various disorders such as alcoholism, delinquency or mental illness. As the children in these longitudinal studies grew into adolescence and adulthood, researchers found that some children thrived despite adverse childhood experiences and became healthy functioning adults (Anthony, 1974; Garmezy, 1971, 1991; Rutter, 1979; Werner, 1986, 2005; Werner, Bierman, & French, 1971; Werner & Smith, 1982). Rutter‘s (1979) research on children living in poverty found ―that half of the children living under these conditions of disadvantage do not repeat that pattern in their own adult lives‖ (as cited in Garmezy, 1991, pp. 416-430). The concept of resiliency was developed to ―describe relative resistance to psychosocial risk experiences‖ (Rutter, 1999, p. 119). Over the last several decades it has
evolved to encompass ―a dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity‖ (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000, p. 543) and ―the process of coping with adversity, change, or opportunity in a manner that results in the identification, fortification, and enrichment of resilient qualities or protective factors‖ (Richardson, 2002, p. 308). In recent years, research on stress and recovery from stress, coping, adult development and life span theory have informed and broadened a theory that is salient in the context of stress and adversity (Smith-Osborne, 2007). The central constructs of the theory include risk factors, protective processes, and vulnerability factors. In the developmental literature, resiliency is typically delineated in terms of protective factors among children exposed to unfavorable life circumstances (Garmezy, 1991; Luthar et al., 2000; Masten, 2001; Rutter, 1999). These protective factors serve to foster positive outcomes and relatively stable trajectories of healthy functioning throughout life (Bonanno, 2004). According to Richardson, Neiger, Jensen and Kumpfer (1990): When faced with a challenge, the resilient person may temporarily experience doubt and disorganization. In time, however, he/she will use re-integrative and coping skills that allow the individual to learn, develop new skills, and effectively deal with the life event. (p. 34) Richardson and Nixon (1997) defined resiliency as ―the process and experience of adapting to disruptive, opportunistic, stressful, challenging, and informative life [experiences] in a way that provides the individual with more protective and coping skills and knowledge than prior to the disruption‖ (p. 2). The person adapts to disruptive experiences by achieving a greater hardiness and coping capacity than before the
disruption, thus demonstrating a transformative learning or change process (Richardson & Nixon). A number of longitudinal studies over the past few decades sought to develop an understanding of the processes that predict resilience in the face of adversity, in particular the complex interaction of protective and risk factors with the goal of developing a model to apply this knowledge to clinical practice (Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen, 1984; Luthar, 1991; Rutter, Cox, Tupling, Berger, & Yule, 1975; Rutter & Quinton, 1984; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992, 2001). The process of resiliency represents a holistic course of action resulting from a range of biological, psychological, and social factors (Sroufe, 1997). Such a model must also begin with an understanding of the concept of wellness. Cowen (1994) highlighted the importance of resiliency within the broader concept of wellness. For Cowen, a wellness framework assumes the development of healthy personal systems leading to positive well-being and the reduction of dysfunction. While a wellness framework clearly emphasizes the interaction of the individual with their environment, the absence of pathology does not necessarily equate with psychological wellness (Ardell, 1982; Lorion, 2000). Still unavailable, however, â€•is a nosology and system to measure adaptation, stress hardiness, and the qualities necessary to deal successfully with and overcome adversityâ€– (Goldstein & Brooks, 2004, p. 5). Although wellness and resiliency are frequently considered abstract concepts, research in each of these areas holds promise for developing a scientific model of well-being (Antoniou & Cooper, 2005).
Masten and Coatsworth (1998) defined resiliency as ―manifested competence in the context of significant challenges to adaptation or development" (p. 206). Underlying this definition is an implication that there has been a significant threat to the individual and the quality of adaptation has positive developmental outcomes (Bandura, 1997). In characterizing these outcomes, Bandura included ―social competence, academic achievement, a favorable sense of self, absence of psychological pathology, and successful fulfillment of essential roles in adult years‖ (p. 172). Current definitions of resiliency expand the scope of the construct beyond that of serious threats to adaptation experienced by ‗at risk children‘ to include life challenges and stresses that adults face throughout life. A review of the literature reveals various differences and similarities between developmental and adult definitions of resiliency (Pedhazur & Schmelkin, 1991). The first major difference between developmental and adult literatures has to do with the criterion for well-being. The developmental researchers have utilized reports by others regarding psychological symptoms in rating the behavioral success of the child or adolescent (Luthar & Brown, 2007). Adult resiliency researchers have focused on selfreporting from individuals regarding their own perceptions of happiness or distress (Luthar, 2006). The second major difference between developmental and adult literatures is whether resiliency is limited to positive adaptation following adversity or whether recovery following an adaptive setback might be considered (Rutter, 2006). Developmental theorists include both, while adult theorists suggest that a qualitatively
different secondary category of recovery reflects a moderate to severe disruption in functioning followed by a return to pre trauma levels (Bonanno, 2005). A third major difference concerns the extent to which the environment influences resiliency versus whether resiliency resides solely within the person. Developmental theorists recognize the role the environment, such as the family or community, plays in providing protective or risk factors (Luthar 2006). The adult literature focuses primarily on personality traits and biology with little emphasis on external factors such as social or supportive relationships (Bonanno, 2004). Similarly, developmentalists have paid much closer attention to a wide array of contextual influences such as culture, race, ethnicity, income, gender, and economic status (Luthar & Brown, 2007). Finally, developmental researchers have made few assertions about the rates of resiliency recognizing that children may excel in one aspect of life but suffer in another (Luthar, 2006). In contrast, the adult literature is replete with findings regarding the rates of resiliency. In a widely cited case, Bonanno (2005) surveyed 2,752 residents of New York City shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Resiliency was narrowly defined as having one or zero post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and low levels of depression or substance abuse 6 months following the attack. The findings concluded that â€•over 65% in the New York metropolitan area were resilientâ€– (p. 135). Resilient Attributes Resilient attributes and supporting literature are presented in Table 1. Several of these attributes are discussed in the next section on resilience and leadership.
Table 1 Resilient Attributes Attribute
Authors in literature
Haglund et al., 2007; Maddi, 1999; Moos & Schafer, 1993.
Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997; Breznitz, 1983; Folkman & Lazarus, 1985; Greenglass, 2002.
Benard, 2006; Grotberg, 1998; Masten, Best & Garmezy, 1990; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2006; Werner, 1995.
Benard, 1991, 2006; Flach, 2004; Henderson & Milstein, 1996.
Feldman Barrett, Christensen, & Benvenuto, 2001; Feldman Barrett & Gross, 2001; Fredrickson, 2000; Goleman, 1995; Salovey et al., 1999; Tugade & Fredrickson, 2002.
Goleman, 1995; Salovey, et. al., 1999; Walsh, 2008.
Benard, 2006; Haglund et al., 2007; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1998; Rutter, 2000, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1992.
Bartone, 1999; Bonanno, 2004; Kobasa 1979, 1982; Maddi & Kobasa, 1984; Maddi, 2002, 2004; Maddi et al., 2006.
Benard, 2006; Bonanno et al., 2003; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2000; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992; Wolin & Wolin, 1993.
Benard, 2006; Garmezy, 1971; Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Hawkins et al., 1992; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten et al., 1990; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Werner & Smith, 1992.
Attribute Inner Direction
Authors in literature Benard, 2006; Flach, 2004; Garmezy, 1971; Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2000; Werner & Smith, 1992; Wolin & Wolin, 1993.
Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Wolin & Wolin, 1993.
Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996.
Haglund et al., 2007.
Benard, 1991, 2006; Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000; Haglund et al., 2007; Seligman, 2002; Tugade & Fredrickson 2004.
Benard, 2006; Garmezy, 1971; Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Hawkins et al., 1992; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1992.
Benard, 1991, 2006; Grotberg, 1995, 1998; Masten et al., 1990; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 1987, 1999, 2000, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992; Wolin & Wolin, 1993.
Fournier, De Ridder & Bensing, 2002; Haglund et al., 2007; Sousa et al., 2002; Yi et al., 2008.
Benard, 2006; Grotberg, 1998; Henderson, 1997; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2006; Sergiovanni, 1992; Werner & Smith, 1992; Wolin & Wolin, 1993.
Authors in literature Bandura, 1997; Benard, 1991, 2006; Garmezy, 1971; Grotberg, 1995; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996, 1998; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992. Benard, 1991, 2006; Garmezy, 1991; Grotberg, 1998; Hawkins et al., 1992; Henderson, 1997; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 2000, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1982, 1992.
Benard, 2006; Grotberg, 1998; Rutter, 2006; Werner & Smith, 1992.
Benard, 2006; Grotberg, 1998; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Oâ€˜Leary, 1998; Rutter, 2000; Sergiovanni, 1992; Werner & Smith, 1992.
Bonanno, 2004; Flach, 2004; Frankl, 1984; Greene, 2002.
Resilience and Leadership Gardner (1990) identified four sources of stress endemic to leadership: hostile criticism, invasion of privacy, work overload, and combat. He noted that negative consequences such as alcoholism, bitterness, paranoia and self-pity are among the most common afflictions leaders frequently experience (p. 134). Gardner also highlighted the importance of leadersâ€˜ recognizing their need for stress reduction strategies such as obtaining adequate rest, occasions of isolation and inactivity, seeking solace in friends, family, and faith, and maintaining a healthy perspective on life. Continually practiced, those strategies enable self-renewal by releasing human energy and talent, equipping leaders to facilitate the renewal process in their sphere of influence (Gardner, 1990, p. 137). Gardner cautioned that to avoid those strategies is to risk doing harm to self, others, and ultimately to the organization in which the leader serves.
The debate in the leadership literature continues over whether leadership qualities and personal characteristics that are less amenable to change (drive, perseverance, emotional resilience, etc.) can be developed (Bass, 1990). Kellerman (2004) studied hundreds of cases of ineffective and unethical leadership and found that it results primarily from leaders' personality disorders, weakness of will, flawed values, or an avoidance of reality. Kellerman favored a trait theory over a psychosocial explanation for behavior based on her assumption that ―character is a more permanent condition, fundamental and fixed‖ (p. 21). Bennis and Thomas (2002) took a developmental approach in their study of 43 leaders when they examined ―why some people are able to extract wisdom from experience, however harsh, and others not‖ (p. 2). Their focus was less about the traits of sampled leaders than on the leaders‘ transformative learning journey. They stressed ―Our study confirmed our belief that traits and other individual factors are given too much prominence in studies of leadership‖ (p. 91). Bennis and Thomas termed those transformative learning journeys the ―crucibles of leadership‖ (p. 87). The authors generalized respondent‘s narratives about emerging stronger from an ordeal by hypothesizing the existence of an adaptive capacity in those individuals. Fiedler and Garcia (1987) posited a cognitive resource theory that sought to link the interaction between leadership characteristics and the level of stress experienced by the leaders and followers. The theory suggested that, in situations of heightened stress, performance is positively correlated with the leaders‘ experience and negatively correlated with the leader‘s intelligence. Cognitive resource theory is a modified form of
trait theory where the relationship between leader characteristics and performance is conditional to the stress level of the situation (Bass, 1990). Stoltz (1997) specifically discussed the need for resiliency in leadership. He argued that successful leadership is based largely on an individualâ€˜s ability to cope with adversity. Stoltz cautioned that current organizational environments promote chaos through constant change requiring leaders who can thrive in the face of adversity and promote resilience in the workforce. Cooper and Sawaf (1997) studied emotional intelligence in leadership and found a high need for resiliency and renewal for executives to survive leadership positions. They suggested that the primary skills leaders need to survive and thrive through conflict or adversity are resiliency and renewal. They claimed that emotional adaptability stimulates and develops mental adaptability which helps leaders accept responsibility, reject selfpity, and remain optimistic despite setbacks or losses. Adult Development Over the past few decades, adult development has become a recognized area of study and practice within adult education (Jarvis, 1992, 2004; Kegan, 1982, 1994; Merriam & Caffarella, 1991). A major characteristic of the nature of people is that human beings have a basic need to learn throughout their lifetime (Jarvis, 2004; Kegan, 1982; Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 2005). Human development is a natural part of the continual evolution of the individualâ€˜s mind, body and spirit as well as within the community (Frankl, 1984; Maslow, 1968; Rogers 1961).
Recent literature fosters the idea of people making meaning as they grow and experience the world (Vella, 2002). The seminal work of Piaget (1932) and Erikson (1963, 1980, 1998) highlighted the affect of early childhood experiences in this meaning making process. Piaget (cited in Billett, 1999) classified learning into two processes: assimilation, which links existing knowledge and accommodation, which Billett summarized as "the process of developing new knowledge when faced with a new situation" (p. 153). Billett builds on this differentiation and proposes a classification of learning into three categories: (a) prepositional or inert knowledge, consisting of facts and absolutes; (b) procedural knowledge, knowing what to do and how to act; and (c) dispositional knowledge, consisting of an individualâ€˜s values and beliefs. Cognitive learning theory distinguishes between different types of learning, as represented in Piaget's (1932) distinction between assimilation and accommodation, referred to above. With age, these cognitive practices evolve as past experiences provide a frame of reference for future learning (Kegan, 1982). Eriksonâ€˜s (1963, 1980) eight stages of development provided an important framework for understanding the transitions that occur during the lifecycle. Eriksonâ€˜s developmental scheme addressed fundamental tasks that all individuals must address in life that relate to what he termed identity, intimacy, and generativity. Progress in accomplishing those tasks is typically not linear in the sense that one masters issues of identity, then moves on to intimacy and generativity later in life. Individuals constantly revisit issues around their own identity (attitudes, values and beliefs), the capacity for
intimacy (sustaining relationships and preserving trust) and generativity (meaning making, caring for community and the next generation) throughout their lives. Each time an individual confronts issues of identity, intimacy, or generativity, they do so on a different and more complex level. Ideally this process leads to greater competence and a deeper perspective with each cycle. In these ways, Erikson contributed to an understanding of the inherent strengths of the human personality in overcoming challenges and conflicts while healing through a transformative process. Vygotsky (1987) emphasized the role of advanced guides or mentors, who can assist learners in formulating and solving problems. The emphasis on the value of guidance among the cognitive theorists appears to rest on the assumption that those guiding the learning can understand the problems of the learner, and that their objectives are aligned, since "facilitating learning experiences requires knowledge of the goals and needs of the individuals involvedâ€– (Darkenwald and Merriam, 1982, p. 77). According to Merriam and Caffarella (1991), â€•the humanist theories view learning from the perspective of the human potential for growthâ€– (p. 132). These authors noted that the problems of the learner are at the center of the humanist view of learning, and that the learner is perceived as self-directed and striving towards a more ideal self. As a consequence, the purpose of learning is determined by life's problems of highest relevance to the individual as the adult learner initiates and directs the learning (Knowles, 1980). The humanistic emphasis on growth, development and change has much to offer adult education concerned with psychological health and well-being (Maslow, 1968; Rogers, 1983).
Transformative learning has recently become an accepted part of the theoretical body and practice in adult education (Jarvis, 2004). Freire (2000), Kegan (1982, 1994), and Mezirow (1991, 2000) represent different perspectives and practices undertaken with the aim of transformative learning at the core. Critical awareness developed through problem posing and questioning grounded Freireâ€˜s (2000) approached to transformative education. With spiritual roots, Freire understood humanity as possessing a vocation to act on the world and he looked to education to enable that action. Kegan (1982, 1994) integrated meaning-making with social development in a constructivist-developmental theory built on the work of Piaget (1932), Erikson (1963), Kohlberg (1968), and Perry (1970). In this perspective, change, growth, purpose, and meaning are all part of a self-authoring process (Kegan, 1994). Drawing from developmental and cognitive psychology, sociology, and philosophy, Mezirowâ€˜s (1991, 2000) theory of transformative learning described how learners construct, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experiences. Mezirow (1991) described transformation as an alteration in the boundaries of what a particular individual views as the way the world is. The foundation of Mezirowâ€˜s (1991, 2000) theory suggests that meaning resides within a person rather than in external forms such as books or authorities, and that personal meanings are derived from his or her experience. Individuals interpret their experiences in singularly personal ways that lead to new mental models resulting from the perceptions of those experiences. Subsequently, transformative learning is a process of examining, questioning, validating, and revising those perceptions (Mezirow, 2000).
Mezirow (2000) focused on transformation of an individual's perspectives through ―critical reflection, discourse, and reflective action‖ (p. 24). Whether through a "disorienting dilemma" or from a gradual expansion of awareness, transformation for Mezirow began with the personal before moving to the social realm. The evolution of research and thinking on transformative learning has progressed to blend experiences of individual and group learning with personal and societal transformation (Parks-Daloz, 2000). Mezirow (1991) distinguished three types of meaning perspectives: epistemic, social linguistic, and psychological. For Mezirow, epistemic meaning perspectives were those related to knowledge and the way it is used. Social linguistic meaning perspectives are based on people's social norms, cultural background, socialization, spoken language, religious beliefs, family and upbringing, and interactions with others. Psychological meaning perspectives pertain to the way a person sees themselves as an individual; his or her self-concept, needs, inhibitions, anxieties, and personality based preferences. Mezirow‘s work provided many examples of understanding the sources of psychological meaning perspectives that are often buried in life experiences. Perry‘s (1970) research raised the question underlying the entire discussion of adult development: what does the highly developed adult look like? Perry held that all developmental schemes hold an objectivist epistemology that something is better than something else (e.g., relativistic thinking is more sophisticated than dualistic thinking). Perry made this abundantly clear in discussing the concept of human development. He stated, ―In any sphere of human development, perceptual, intellectual, social, emotional,
and so forth, the word growth suggests that it is better to grow than to arrest growth or to regress‖ (p. 44). Perry‘s developmental theory portrayed individuals moving through stages of moral and intellectual development. At the earlier stages, reflective thinking or questioning assumptions does not exist. At the other end of the spectrum, the individual whose reflective judgment is developed perceives knowledge to be the product of inquiry and reflection. Kolb (1984) defined learning as a ―process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience‖ (p. 38). Building on the work of Piaget (1932) and Erikson (1963), Kolb (1999) designed a learning model that described the learning process. The cycle included four stages. First, the learner has a concrete experience, and then engages in reflecting on that experience from different perspectives. From those reflective observations, the learner moves into abstract conceptualization where they can develop generalizations that will help integrate observations into sound theories or principles. Finally, learners use those generalizations as guides to further action, or active experimentation, and try out what they have learned. Then the cycle begins again, but this time the learner functions at a more complex level. The learning cycle accounts for multiple ways of apprehending and processing information. Kolb (1984) emphasized that the process of learning requires a resolution of conflicts, since "Learning is best facilitated in an environment where there is dialectic tension and conflict between immediate, concrete experience and analytic detachment" (p. 9). Kolb argued that "the transactional relationship between the person and the environment is symbolized in the dual meanings of the term experience; one subjective
and personal, referring to a person's internal state and the other objective and environmental" (p. 35). Zull (2002) added a biological substrate to Kolb‘s (1999) learning cycle and replaced the stages with four fundamental pillars of learning: gathering data which involves getting information, reflection where learners make meaning of information, creating in which new ideas form from those meanings, and testing or acting on those ideas. Zull argued that gathering is so fundamental that the other pillars are often neglected. Zull (2002) also stressed the importance of emotions in learning. If emotions are foundational to learning, then practices grounded in learning styles and reflective teaching are valuable applications of the research and practice of brain-compatible learning (Rogers, 1983). Schön (1983) pioneered the concept of reflective practice, where professional knowledge is formulated through reflection-in-action, which is an extension of experiential learning. Schön found that when a unique situation presents itself, professionals reflect in action to reframe the problem. According to Schön, this iterative experimentation process consists of examining the problem, reflection, reframing, and further reflection. Continuing Professional Education Continuing professional education is generally recognized as a significant and important component of professional growth and ongoing learning in the professions (Cervero, 1988). According to Cervero, continuing education has increasingly been used to regulate professionals through relicensing, recertification or enforcing mandatory
education requirements. The trend towards professionalization, in part, is an outgrowth of the formation of professional associations which frequently serve as major providers of continuing education (Cervero). Houle (1980) described professionals as ―deeply versed in advanced and subtle bodies of knowledge, which they apply with dedication in solving complex practical problems‖ (p. 1). According to Houle, professionals learn through ―study, apprenticeship, and experience, both by expanding their comprehension of formal disciplines and by finding new ways to use them to achieve specific ends, constantly moving forward and backward from theory to practice so that each enriches the others‖ (p. 1). Houle identified a range of professionalizing characteristics, including admission requirements, conceptualizing the mission of the particular practice, mastery of special knowledge, and establishing standards and codes of behavior. Cervero (1988) stressed the similarities and uniqueness inherent in all professions when considering professional development as a separate and distinct form of continuing education: Members of a specific profession are like all other adults in that they share basic human processes such as motivation, cognition, and emotions, like some other adults in that they belong to a profession, and like no other adults in that they belong to a particular profession. Each frame of reference implies important dimensions that need to be taken into account in the practice of continuing professional education. (pp. 15-16) Judicial Education As the field of judicial education is relatively new and often not well understood, some background information is necessary to explain why judicial education is important to the development and support of judges. The following provides a brief discussion of
the emerging trends in judicial education and the unique role of a judge as a learner as a basis for why this aspect of the research is related to judicial resiliency. In 1992, the National Association of State Judicial Educators (NASJE) published Principles and Standards of Continuing Judicial Education (National Association of State Judicial Education, 2001). This document defined the goal of judicial education as enhancing â€•the performance of the judicial system as a whole by continuously improving the personal and professional competence of all persons performing judicial branch functionsâ€– (p. 4). NASJE delineated the objectives of judicial education: To help judicial branch personnel acquire the knowledge and skills required to perform their judicial branch responsibilities fairly, correctly, and efficiently; to help judicial branch personnel adhere to the highest standards of personal and official conduct; to help judicial branch personnel become leaders in service to their communities; to preserve the judicial systemâ€˜s fairness, integrity, and impartiality by eliminating bias and prejudice; to promote effective court practices and procedures; to improve the administration of justice; to ensure access to the justice system; and to enhance public trust and confidence in the judicial branch. (p. 4) Judges, in most circumstances, are selected or elected from a pool of qualified attorneys. Unlike many other professions that involve a sequence of steps or phases, being appointed or elected to a judgeship is a single traumatic event, one for which many are not prepared (Utter, 1996). In the transition from lawyer to judge, even the lawyer with extensive trial experience finds the transition from advocate to mediator or impartial decision maker difficult (Catlin, 1992). Catlin stressed that the new role creates different relationships with judges, attorneys and other court personnel. The new judge also confronts many unfamiliar substantive and administrative problems, ranging from administering court staffs and budgets to areas of family law or civil litigation which may
not have been part of his or her specialized practice (Armytage, 2004). In any case, whether the individual makes the transition before one‘s career begins in earnest, or after an initial career as an attorney, they must acquire complex new skills, and new ways of thinking (Armytage). The same can be said for a judge‘s experience as they transition into a new leadership role as the head of a division or presiding judge of the court (Utter, 1996). Utter claimed that this role change requires a new set of organizational and managerial skills for which most judges are not prepared. Just as those skills are mastered, a judge may be appointed to a higher trial court and given a civil calendar, or to an appellate court with a new set of analytical and writing requirements (Utter). Each of those transitions requires the acquisition of new knowledge, skills and abilities (Armytage, 2004). According to Armytage (2004), continuing judicial education comprises three principle components: 1. New judge transition – to train and educate new appointees to assume office, to facilitate the transition from advocate to adjudicator, and to bridge the gap between inexperience and experience. 2. Continuing education – to facilitate the ongoing professional development of judicial officers and to keep them abreast of change. 3. Ongoing development – to address other career or personal development needs. (p. 4) Hudzik‘s (1999) analysis of judicial education in the United States revealed that most training has focused on two areas: orientation programs for new judges and continuing education which tends to focus on substantive law and court procedure, judicial skills, judicial management and administrative skills.
Probably the most controversial area of exploration is the role that selfenhancement curricula should play in judicial education (Armytage, 1996). Armytage suggested that since judges bring their whole being to the role of judge and the process of decision making it requires ―the systematization of judicial education in order to meet a variety of needs‖ (p. 24). By fully developing the whole person, one is thereby developing a higher degree of judicial competence, ethics and wellness (Utter, 1996). The other side of the argument has ―challenged that formalized education is not needed, that it should not be used to cure any deficiencies in the selection process, and that it undermines the independence and credibility of the bench‖ (Armytage, p. 24). Ultimately, to be a judge is not merely a job but an integral part of his/her identity (Baum, 2006). For many judges, the line between personal and professional is so indistinct that without an explicit acknowledgment of the personal issues in a professional context, the personal would never be addressed at all–to the detriment of their families, their well-being, and their ability to carry out their professional responsibilities (Utter, 1996). Research Questions The guiding question this study sought to answer was “what are the essential characteristics of an highly resilient judge?‖ That general question subsumed several related questions: 1. What are the essential characteristics of resiliency demonstrated by Judge Jones over his judicial career and in particular during a high profile case?
2. How do the findings emerging from this study compare to recent theories on resiliency? 3. To what degree has Judge Jones experienced an increase in resiliency as a result of his career experiences? Summary Chapter 2 examined the research on human resiliency grounded in empirical, historical, and theoretical studies in the areas of psychology, sociology, and leadership studies. First, various definitions of resiliency were considered and a working definition for this study was adopted. Second, the historical roots of resiliency were examined and the characteristics of resiliency in children and adults were addressed. Third, the major attributes of resilient individuals were presented. Fourth, the relevance of resiliency to leadership and the psychological and emotional demands of leaders under stressful situations were examined. Finally, the research that relates to adult development and transformative learning was reviewed, with special emphasis on continuing professional education and the development of judicial education.
47 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aimed to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The guiding question this study sought to answer was â€œwhat are the essential characteristics of an highly resilient judge?â€– That general question subsumed several related questions: 1. What are the essential characteristics of resiliency demonstrated by Judge Jones over his judicial career and in particular during a high profile case? 2. How do the findings emerging from this study compare to recent theories on resiliency? 3. To what degree has Judge Jones experienced an increase in resiliency as a result of his career experiences?
Chapter 3 presents the methods used to conduct this study and describes how data were collected and analyzed. The chapter is organized into the following sections: Research Process and Procedures, Sources of Data, Data Analysis, Validity and Dependability, Human Subject Protection, and Summary. Research Process and Procedures Research Design According to Creswell (1994), a qualitative study is an inquiry process of a social or human problem based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducting research in a natural setting. As described by Patton (2002), qualitative research is an appropriate method for areas where little research has been conducted. Qualitative methods can be used to explore substantive areas of behavior, temperament, and character of which little is known (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). This study has a phenomenological framework in that it sought to study the phenomenon of judicial resiliency by ―entering the field of perception of participants; seeing how they experience, live, and display the phenomenon‖ (Creswell, 2007, pp. 3738). ―Qualitative researchers believe that approaching people with the goal of trying to understand their point of view, while not perfect, distorts the subject‘s experience the least‖ (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992, pp. 34-35). Furthermore, ―qualitative methods can be used to obtain the intricate details about phenomena such as feelings, thought processes, and emotions that are difficult to extract or learn about through other research methods‖ (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 11). The voice of the participant is central to this dissertation
because he provides evidence of judicial resiliency under extreme circumstances. The indepth, rich descriptions that qualitative work provides lay at the center of this study. Inductive reasoning, a hallmark of qualitative analysis, is essential to the inquiry approach adopted here; furthermore, in the words of Merriam (1998), ―this type of research builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, or theories rather than tests existing theory‖ (p. 7). Case Study Methodology According to Merriam (1998), qualitative inquiry focuses on meaning in context requiring a method of data collection that is sensitive to the underlying meaning of the participant‘s experience. Case studies are designed to discover details from the viewpoint of the participant by using multiple sources of data. Merriam (1998) suggested that qualitative case studies fall into three general types: particularistic, descriptive and heuristic. This study presents a combination of all three types. First, it is particularistic because it focuses on understanding the relationship between the environment, beliefs, and behaviors as experienced by a particular individual in a particular setting, in this case, the judge in the courtroom. Second, it is descriptive because it provides a detailed picture of the experiences, perceptions and actions of a judge during and after a high profile notorious trial. In this sense, the case study is ―strong on reality‖ (Cohen & Manion, 1989, p. 150) because it enables the reader to recreate the experiences being described and to evaluate the quality of subsequent interpretations. Finally, it is heuristic because it provides a means for readers to envision the stress of being a judge in ways that are both recognizable and yet surpass their own experiences and expectations (Patton, 2002).
This is an exploratory study (Yin, 2003), using a single case study methodology to examine resiliency through the lived experience and perceptions of an experienced judge. This naturalistic approach, according to Waller (2001), is well suited to the study of human resilience: While the knowledge base of resilience research can be greatly enriched by empirical observation methods, narrative approaches that tap into the subjective experiences may reveal protective factors not apparent even to participant observer researchers. As narrative therapists have demonstrated (White & Epston, 1989), stories (of individuals, couples, families, communities, tribes, etc.) are like rich archaeological digs. Personal narratives may illuminate protective factors (active or latent) in parts of a respondentâ€˜s ecosystem that might not be readily apparent to researchers. (p. 295) Yin (2003) suggested that conducting a single case study is justified if that case represents an extreme or unique example of a phenomenon. A review of the Gary Ridgway case (State v. Ridgway, 2001) and discussions with other judges in Washington State gave indication that this rationale had application to this study. While other high profile cases exist, they are rare (Hannaford, 2008), and the judges who tried those cases are not easily accessible. The research questions of this study attempted to discover knowledge in a specific case because Judge Jonesâ€˜s experiences surrounding a high profile case are extremely applicable to the phenomena of interest (Stake, 1995). Nonetheless, the researcherâ€˜s interest in this case is instrumental rather than intrinsic (Creswell, 2007), in that the research questions could be asked of other experienced judges, or groups of judges, and are not specific to this particular case under study.
51 Sources of Data
Rationale for Participant Selection The researcher identified one trial court judge who exemplified the highest attributes of the profession, both as judge and as a leader. Judge Jones was selected based on his demonstrated competence and high degree of resiliency during and after conducting a high profile case. The judge‘s fifteen years of experience on the bench is a crucial component of the study. The Honorable Richard Jones Judge Richard Jones was appointed to the King County Superior Court in Seattle, Washington in 1994 where he presided until he was nominated and selected to serve on the U.S. District Court. During his tenure as a Superior Court Judge, Judge Jones managed some of the most difficult cases in Washington State including presiding over the sentencing of Gary Ridgway (State v. Ridgway, 2001), who was known as the Green River killer. Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder in 2003 and was identified as the most prolific serial killer in American history (Prothero & Smith, 2006, p. 282). According to Washington Senator Murray (2007) ―That would be a tough case for any judge, but Judge Jones earned praise for the sensitivity and dignity he showed for the victims of the Green River killer‖ (p. 1). Judge Jones has been a leader in the Seattle community throughout his career, actively working on causes related to education, social justice and equal opportunity. He demonstrated leadership as a board member of the YMCA of Greater Seattle for 14 years and served as Board President from 2000 to 2002. He has served on several other boards
and committees, including Seattle University Board of Regents and the University of Washington Law School Advisory Committee. Judge Jones has received numerous awards and honors for his achievements as a lawyer and judge and his commitment to the community. In 2004, he received Outstanding Judge awards from four different professional associations, including the Washington State Bar Association, Washington State Trial Lawyers Association, Asian Bar Association of Washington State and King County Bar Association. He was honored with the 2004 Alumnus of the Year Award from Seattle University and the Richard Allen Brotherhood Community Service Award from First A.M.E Church. In 2003 and 2006, Judge Jones was named one of the YMCA of Greater Seattle‘s Volunteers of the Year. Data Collection Data were collected primarily through three, one hour-long interviews with Judge Jones in his chambers. Long interviews involve ―an in-depth interviewing technique designed to generate narratives that focus on fairly specific research questions‖ (Crabtree & Miller, 1991, p. 145). Gathering data through interviews allowed the researcher ―to enter into the other person‘s perspective‖ (Patton, 2002, p. 341). Merriam (1998) described three types of interviews: highly structured (standardized), semi-structured, and unstructured (informal). Her description of the semi-structured approach describes the methodology used in this study. The semi-structured approach combines a mixture of more or less structured questions where specific information is sought, with a list of open ended ―questions or issues to be explored‖ (Merriam, p. 74). Flexibility in the structure and delivery of
questions encourages detailed in-depth answers that allow the researcher to ―respond to the situation at hand‖ (Merriam, p. 74). This approach is well suited to exploring a subject‘s thoughts, feelings, and perceptions regarding experiences framed within a particular theme. A digital voice recorder was used to record the participant‘s responses to the interview. Limited note taking occurred while the conversation was recorded. The recordings were transcribed into text by the researcher within 72 hours after conducting the interviews. Transcription by the researcher, according to Merriam (1998), is likely to increase the accuracy of the transcription, generate ideas for coding and analyzing and help the researcher become more familiar with the data. Transcriptions were reviewed by the researcher for areas requiring clarification and verification for accuracy. Subsequent interviews began by clarifying unclear issues that arose during transcription. Once the data were converted to text, they were downloaded into QSR NVivo (QSR International, 2008) to aid in the data analysis. The selected software tool is a qualitative data analysis software package for coding, annotating, retrieving and reviewing textual data. NVivo was used to store transcripts, organize files and memos, create a template and assist with the analysis and report. Electronic data were kept by the researcher in a password protected computer. The researcher was the only person who had access to these files. At the beginning of the first interview the subject signed the consent form (Appendix A) after the researcher repeated the discussion from the telephone interview concerning the purpose of the study, confidentiality, his right to terminate the interview at
any time, and permission to refrain from answering a question at any time. Following participant approval, a general interview guide was followed for each of the three interview sessions (Appendix B). The sequence of the three sessions addressed three themes designed to elicit a comprehensive account of the subjectâ€˜s experience of resilience (a) identity and development, (b) crucibles, and (c) stress and protective factors. The researcher attempted to establish an atmosphere during the interviews that established rapport while maintaining neutrality (Patton, 2002). Questions were altered and varied as the subject shared his experiences. As the interviews progressed the researcher discovered that he was able to obtain rich, substantive descriptions as the subject responded to questions by just listening carefully and not interrupting or interjecting comments or questions. At the end of each interview session, the researcher gathered, reviewed and organized field notes in a journal as an impressionistic record. Lightfoot-Lawrence and Davis (1997) described this form of recordkeeping as â€•a ruminative, thoughtful piece that identifies emerging hypotheses, suggests interpretations, describes shifts in perspective, points to puzzles and dilemmas (methodological, conceptual, ethical) that need attention, and develops a plan of action for the next visitâ€– (p. 188). The keeping of an impressionistic record continued throughout the study as general reflections and insights grew into emergent themes. The study also relied on other sources of data such as historical accounts, articles, media materials and courtroom observations. These included three accounts of the Green
River murders (Prothero & Smith, 2006; Reichert, 2004; Rule, 2004) two biographies of Judge Jones‘s brother Quincy Jones (Jones, 2001, 2008), and the transcript from the Ridgway sentencing hearing (CNN.com, 2009). The study attempted to evaluate corroborating data as the study emerged. Data Analysis The data analysis was an iterative process built on the study‘s conceptual framework, the research questions, and a phenomenological method of inquiry to see how the participant lived and made meaning of his experience. According to Strauss (1987), making sense of complex qualitative data requires syntheses of various elements. First, both the analysis and collection are ―guided by successively evolving interpretations made during the course of the study‖ (p. 10). Second, the researcher creates a conceptually multifaceted study of the phenomena through linkages with numerous concepts. Finally, analysis is sharpened by intensive and detailed examination of the data ―to bring out the amazing complexity that lies in, behind, and beyond those data‖ (p. 10). The constant comparative method was used to analyze the narrative (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This procedure involved identifying and extracting significant statements or ―meaning units‖ from the narrative; initial identification of themes; returning to the data to verify themes; and, the formulation of an exhaustive set of descriptions of the phenomena under study (Lincoln & Guba). Transcripts were read the first time to gain an overall impression of their content. During the second reading, emergent themes were identified pertaining to the research questions and the challenges the subject experienced,
how he made meaning of those challenges, and how he rose above and developed greater resilience. During a third reading, emergent themes were documented and coded (Strauss, 1987). The initial coding, referred to as ―open coding‘, examined and categorized the transcripts aimed at producing concepts that seemed to describe the data. Open coding of the data consisted of ―breaking down, examining, comparing, conceptualizing, and categorizing data‖ (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 61). These provisional concepts fit within a coding paradigm suggested by Strauss that looks for conditions, interactions, and consequences. A second ―axial‖ coding process followed in which data were ―put back together in new ways after open coding, by making connections between categories‖ (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 96). This stage identified relationships and linkages between categories. The data were then analyzed in a final ―selective‖ coding that Strauss (1987) described as a process of selecting core categories and systematically checking for relationships. In the final coding stage of selecting core categories and themes within categories, codes were condensed, refined, connected and eliminated. Four core categories were finally selected: identity and development, crucibles, judicial stressors and protective processes, corresponding to the guiding structure of the interview process. These categories provided a ―schema with which to assemble and begin to organize the parts of the whole‖ (Lawrence-Lightfoot, 1997, p. 264). In the final coding process, the researcher went back to the conceptual framework and the attributes of resiliency found in the literature review to see what ―fit‖ between the
data coded from the narrative with Judge Jones and the resilience framework. The coded themes were organized into an index tree in NVivo to create a structure for the findings. Refinement of the codes and the index tree continued throughout the analysis and writing process. There were about 50 codes that emerged from the data that were grouped into the four core categories. These codes were finally reduced to 35 themes that seemed most significant (Appendix C). The schema also lent itself to aesthetic considerations by organizing Judge Jonesâ€˜s experiences in a classic narrative or plot structure. Lawrence-Lightfoot (1997) describes the rationale for such a schema: A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. (pp. 264-265) The researcher used a peer reviewer who independently coded the narrative transcripts, affirming core categories and identifying themes within each category. This second reader was a doctoral student familiar with the constructs of resiliency, stress, and adult development. The peer reviewer completed a confidentiality contract. The researcher and peer reviewer then talked through the categories attempting to clarify the sub-themes. This process was constructive as the transcripts were highly descriptive, thus it was beneficial to have a second set of eyes confirm or disconfirm some of the subthemes that developed to support and or expand the initial conceptual framework. Dependability and Validity One of the key considerations of qualitative research according to Merriam (1998) is to understand â€•the phenomenon of interest from the participantsâ€˜ perspectives, not the
researcher‘s. This is sometimes called the emic, or insiders‘ perspective, versus the etic, or outsider‘s view‖ (pp. 6-7). In this study, the researcher was both an insider and an outsider. As a researcher, he was an outsider asking the questions. With fifteen years‘ experience as a judicial branch educator, the researcher was also an insider. As a result of the researcher‘s insider status, methodological caution was a challenge. While the researcher‘s familiarity with judges and the court system enabled him to draw out subtleties from the transcripts that might be missed by an outsider, the researcher needed to be cautious not to assume too quickly that he understood what the participant in this study meant. At the same time, the researcher‘s familiarity could have led to quick interpretations and to unintentionally overlook other themes that a novice may not notice. To ensure that the data collected from the three semi-structured interviews reflected the participant's perspective accurately, the section of the final report that summarizes data was sent to the participant for review, further input, corrections, and clarification. In this way, the construction of an authentic interpretation was drawn from the relationship between the researcher and the participant. Patton (2002) stressed that a researcher is often positioned as an ―outsider‖ to the phenomena under study. To some extent, every non-judge who studies the judiciary is unfamiliar with the nuances of cultural practice that a judge experiences every day. The methodological challenge according to Patton is to do justice to both the etic and emic perspectives during and after the interviews and to convey to the audience how this challenge was managed (p. 268).
Dependability in qualitative research is generally defined as the extent to which findings can be replicated by additional studies conducted under similar situations (Merriam, 1998). Merriam stated: Qualitative research, however, is not conducted so the laws of human behavior can be isolated. Rather, researchers seek to describe and explain the world as those in the world experience it. Since there are many interpretations of what is happening, there is no benchmark by which to take repeated measures and establish reliability in the traditional sense. (p. 205) The question of dependability is not ―whether findings will be found again but whether the results are consistent with the data collected‖ (Merriam, 1998, p. 206). By offering detailed narratives from interviews, by providing a clear and traceable audit trail, and by establishing multiple methods of data collection and analysis, the researcher gives the reader an opportunity to determine the consistency of the findings and conclusions and thus establish a sense of validity and reliability. Dependability was increased in this study by recording the interviews, using qualitative data analysis software, employing an interview protocol, keeping field notes, participant review of transcripts, and the use of a peer reviewer (Merriam). In defining validity, Miles and Huberman (1994) asked ―Do the findings of the study make sense? Are they credible to the people we study, and to our readers? Do we have an authentic portrait of what we are looking at‖ (p. 278)? In this study validity was addressed by (a) triangulation, using multiple sources of data; (b) use of a peer reviewer; and (c) member checks – the transcript and the findings were reviewed by the participant. The member checks were done several times throughout the study as a way of corroborating the essential facts presented in the case report (Merriam, 1998).
60 Human Subject Protection
As part of the study, the participant was advised of its nature, the use of the transcription process, and his ability to not answer any questions at any time and to terminate an interview and even terminate the study. Some demographic data were collected as background information on the participant. The participant was advised that family members would not be identified in the written study or any published reports. The researcher received approval of Seattle Universityâ€˜s Internal Review Board before pursuing the research. All documentary material from or about the participant will be retained pursuant to Seattle University guidelines. Summary Chapter 3 described the methods used to conduct this qualitative study and how data were collected and analyzed. The research design, methodology, participant selection, data collection procedures, coding, and analysis process were described. The next chapter presents the results obtained with those methods.
61 CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION OF THE FINDINGS Introduction The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aimed to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Judge Richard Jones was selected as the subject of this study based on his demonstrated competence and high degree of wellness during and after conducting a high-profile case. During his tenure on the King County bench, Judge Jones managed some of the most difficult cases in Western Washington including presiding over the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway (State v. Ridgway, 2001), who was known as the Green River killer. Ridgway pleaded guilty to 48 counts of aggravated first-degree murder in 2003 and has been identified as the most prolific serial killer in American history (Prothero & Smith, 2006). The purpose of this chapter is to present the findings of the study. Data were collected primarily through three 60-minute interviews designed to generate narratives that focused on the specific research questions. The interviews were conducted by the
researcher in the judgeâ€˜s chambers using a general interview guide that addressed the following categories: (a) identity and development, (b) crucibles, (c) stress and protective processes. These general categories were chosen after a careful review of the literature as a means of organizing the interview questions, and afterwards they proved useful as a way of organizing the data into a coherent narrative. Data from the interviews were transcribed and analyzed for themes. The constant comparative method was used to identify and extract significant statements from the narrative, identify themes, and code data into core categories (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Chapter 4 presents the findings from the interviews with Judge Richard Jones. The chapter is organized into the following four sections: identity and development, crucibles, judicial stressors and protective processes. Identity and development includes narratives addressing his childhood, entry into law school, the decision to become a judge, racial identity, observations about judicial qualifications and characteristics of highly effective judges, and self-reflection. The second section on crucibles provides extensive narratives exploring his experiences with two significant crucibles in his judicial career: the Blackwell shooting incident and the high profile State v. Ridgway case. The third section presents the interview data addressing the following judicial stressors: isolation; workload; decision making; a perceived or actual risk of harm to self, staff or family; highly emotional cases; graphic testimony and vicarious trauma; public scrutiny and media attention; and competing personal needs and professional demands. The final section addresses protective processes in the form of personal and interpersonal strengths, and coping skills
identified in the study. Those protective processes include: a high degree of emotional intelligence distinguished by a strong personal and professional identity, self-awareness, self-confidence, optimism, and self-efficacy; social intelligence factors such as empathy, excellent communication skills, and leadership abilities; and specific coping mechanisms including anticipatory coping, cognitive mechanisms such as compartmentalization, sense of humor, strong social support and active involvement in leisure time activities. Discussion of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations for judicial educators and future research are found in the following chapter. Identity and Development Childhood The youngest of eight children, Richard Jones was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. His father, an expert carpenter, experienced numerous racial discrimination challenges and personal hardships (Jones, 2001, 2008). Despite those challenges, his father remained a strong unifying figure in the family. ―He expected us to look out for one another—half bother, stepsister, whatever—because he saw us as family‖ (Jones, 2001, p. 202). Reflecting upon his childhood memories, Jones shared early life experiences that helped shape his character: My family jokingly refers to the University of 410; that was the address where we grew up: 410 22nd Avenue. It was in the heart of the central district and at the time most real estate agents described it as poor and primarily labor-oriented. My mother was a maid. My father was a carpenter, and I was the last of eight children. We knew what it was like to have tough challenges in life and we also knew what hard work meant. My father continued to impress upon me the importance of commitment to excellence, regardless of the choice of career we elected to pursue. As a matter of fact, he used to have a saying that he used to pound on our heads, literally and figuratively: ―Once a task is once begun never leave the job until it‘s done, be the labor great or small, give the job your very
best or not at all.‖ And that statement was something that he constantly preached at home to all the children. He preached the idea that no matter what challenge that you take on in life … give it a hundred plus percent and if you can‘t commit to that level, then don‘t do it. My father was a very, very good carpenter. He experienced a myriad of racial discriminatory challenges, which prevented him from applying his trade. Because of experiences he had, he always wanted us to have a better opportunity in life. Growing up in that type of environment, we learned at a very early age that we didn‘t necessarily predicate our self-esteem upon anyone else‘s perception of who we were as individuals or where we came from. That background helped me define who I was going to be in life. Regardless of obstacles, challenges or perceptions from anybody else about my capabilities or abilities, I could succeed. I believed that I could succeed. All I had to do was believe it and pursue it. Richard Jones described the challenges of growing up during the 1960s in the central district of Seattle. He attributed some of his resilience to surviving in a tough environment and through economic challenges that his family faced: I grew up in the sixties as a young child in Seattle, Washington…. If you took a bulls-eye and took a compass and ran around the center part of the city, we lived right smack dab in middle of the Central District of Seattle. We lived in a pretty tough neighborhood. As a matter of fact it was a very tough neighborhood considering the social and economic times. We didn‘t have gangs, but we had challenges and not all of the results were successful, e.g., the young girl across the street . . . died of an overdose at nineteen; the young boy that lived immediately to the right of her was a confirmed alcoholic by sixteen; one of the young boys across the street became addicted to drugs at an early age and he is still addicted today. The last time I saw him was just a few years ago when he appeared in drug court. The woman who lived next to me, she was probably one of the most famous kids in our neighborhood because she had successfully robbed eleven banks. She was apprehended only after she agreed to allow her brother to assist in her final robbery attempt. Both were sent to prison. I still remember seeing their broken hearted mother (also a maid) coming home to an empty home she had worked so hard to provide for her children. And in addition, there was also the kid around the corner from us that went to prison for beating an elderly piano teacher to death. I‘m not saying that every child or teen in my neighborhood was delinquent or incorrigible, because they weren‘t. Equally present were the hard working kids who became school teachers, iron workers, educators and became successful in a variety of professions. Let‘s just say we did well despite the odds. I was very
fortunate to become a lawyer and ultimately a judge. That wasn‘t the norm in our neighborhood. Each of us in my neighborhood learned early how to survive in a tough environment without having a lot of resources and being okay with that. Becoming a Lawyer Richard Jones received his undergraduate degree in 1972 from Seattle University and his J.D. in 1975 from the University of Washington School of Law (Federal Judicial Center, 2009). He described his motivation for becoming a lawyer: My first passion in law school was to become a trial lawyer and to take on the challenges associated being in the courtroom. That became my first love. I clerked for the U.S. Attorney‘s office the last two years of law school. During that time I had an opportunity to see what I thought were some of the best trial lawyers in action. I was attracted to the challenge, the drama, the excitement, the involvement, intellect and the commitment and dedication of a small group of lawyers in the U.S. Attorney‘s office. It was a very small office at the time. It was a cohesive group of individuals that were just all defined by principle and commitment to justice. The seeds were sewn for the type of lawyer I wanted to become…a trial lawyer, a litigator. I began my career as a lawyer in the King County Prosecutor‘s Office. This was the beginning of nineteen years in litigation. Most of my practice, even when I was doing administrative work for the Port of Seattle, was geared around litigation and being in a courtroom. During his final year of law school, a prestigious Seattle law firm sought out Richard Jones. After initial screening activities, a partner at the law firm informed Jones that he would not be hired because of his race. This incident ultimately led Judge Jones to an enduring commitment toward mentoring young minorities. He shared this early career challenge and reflected upon the importance of his childhood lessons regarding identity and self-esteem: In my last year of law school I was clerking at the U.S. Attorney‘s office. One of the biggest firms in the city asked me to submit my resume for an associate position. I was excited about the opportunity. After completing the interviewing and hiring process I was called by the hiring partner and we scheduled lunch at Rossellini‘s 410 Restaurant in downtown Seattle. My understanding of the
process strongly indicated a job offer was to be made. As a matter of fact, on the day of my lunch appointment, Stan Pitkin, who was then the U.S. Attorney, came down to the law clerks‘ office and asked to speak with me. There were just a handful of law clerks present when Pitkin walked in, pulled me aside and stated: ―Richard, you‘ve received glowing recommendations from everybody here and I want to be the first to extend congratulations because you‘re probably going to get hired at a really good law firm.‖ With his vote of confidence I was feeling pretty good about myself. I walked into the restaurant within 20 minutes after meeting with Pitkin and I saw the hiring partner. He had a dismal look on his face. I could read bad news and I thought, ―Well maybe things weren‘t as good as I thought they were.‖ I said, ―You know … I can read a good hand of cards and a bad hand. Rather than struggle through a difficult lunch, perhaps we could begin with the purpose of the lunch.‖ He responded, ―Well Richard, I want you to know I made a recommendation for you to be hired at our firm. Your references were great all the way around, everything checks out. There‘s absolutely no reason why we shouldn‘t be hiring you, but we sat down and the partners were concerned with how our clients might react to having a black lawyer represent them.‖ He followed quite quickly with the statement: ―Don‘t take this personal! It‘s nothing about you! It‘s just that this is where we find ourselves at this time.‖ That was the end of lunch. You can‘t imagine the challenge for me to have to come back and try to explain to my employer I didn‘t get the job because I was black. A host of emotions were running through me including anger, hurt and frustration. My first action was to seek counsel from two very well known African American lawyers in this community. One was former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Charles Z. Smith, and the other Lem Howell. Each of them gave me identical advice without consulting each other: ―Richard you have a shot at winning this case. However, it will be a long, expensive and difficult challenge. And, if you prevail, the real question is what will you ultimately win? Because if you are involved in this type of litigation and you want to practice law in this community, you‘ll always be perceived as the lawyer who got his job because he was black not as the lawyer who was hired because of his legal skills.‖ I was starting a young family at the time and did not have the money to take on a firm with hundreds of lawyers and unlimited financial resources. Consequently, I was left with one recourse which was to make a commitment to try and make a change in the hiring practices in our community so that my experience would not be repeated with other students of color. That was a challenge early in my legal career that could have caused me to give up on my dream to be a trial lawyer if race was to serve as the determining hiring factor. But, I had had worked too hard to get to that point in my life to let this experience serve as the ‗be all and end all‘ of my career. I fell back upon what I‘d learned as a young child which was not to
let anyone‘s perception of who I was to impact upon my self-esteem and certainly not to be affected when decisions by others were predicated upon race. I was African American. There was absolutely nothing I could do to change that and besides, I was proud of who I was and where I came from. If that was that firm‘s perception of what their client base was, then I didn‘t want to work there in the first place. A few days after my lunch meeting at Rossellini‘s I contacted the King County Prosecutor‘s Office and I was hired by King County Prosecutor Christopher Bailey. As awkward as it seems now, that overt act of discrimination actually resulted in better outcome because it immediately gave me the opportunity to begin my career as a trial lawyer. Prior to coming to the bench, Richard Jones served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Washington from 1988 to 1994; an associate in the Seattle law firm of Bogle & Gates from 1983 to 1987; staff attorney for the Port of Seattle from 1978 to 1983; and a deputy prosecutor and community liaison officer for the King County Prosecuting Attorney‘s Office from 1975 to 1978 (Federal Judicial Center, 1999). After nineteen years as a prosecutor, he decided to become a judge: At the end of nineteen years, I began pondering my future: ―It‘s going to be 20 years next year or close to it and what‘s next? And to be honest I‘d heard a report that trial lawyers didn‘t have long life expectancies. When I saw that I said, ―Maybe I‘d better make a definite change…right now!‖ [laughs]. It was right around that time that I decided that the practice of law could possibly change, but I could still have the luxury of being in the courtroom minus the advocate responsibility. It was after that realization that I made the decision. Without having a particular position in mind I completed all the evaluations that that were necessary for superior court. About a week or so after I finished the last of the judicial interviews, King County Superior Court Judge Frank Sullivan passed away. A friend of mine called me on a Tuesday and said, ―Richard, there‘s an opportunity opening in superior court, have you submitted your name and application?‖ I had not and she strongly encouraged me to fax it to the Governor immediately. On Wednesday I received a call from the Governor‘s office. My interview was scheduled on Thursday; I was appointed on Friday by 11:00 a.m. That Sunday night I officially resigned from the U.S. Attorney‘s Office, I took the oath of office the following morning and immediately walked over to the Office of Records and Elections and filed for my position because that also happened to be filing week for all superior court judges. That‘s how fast it all happened.
Becoming a Judge The experiences recounted by new judges who have taken the bench suggest they face an unnerving experience (Utter, 1996). Unlike many other professions which evolve in complexity and responsibility over time, appointment or election to a judgeship is a single traumatic event, one for which many attorneys are not prepared (Utter, 1996). Judge Jones was appointed to the King County Superior Court in 1994. He described the challenge of making the transition from attorney to judge: I clearly recall my first day as a judge. All activity in my life was at a whirlwind pace. I had to wind up my practice as a federal prosecutor, campaign to retain my appointment and learn the ropes of being a judge all at the same time. I remember walking down the hallway for my first hearing and putting on my robe like it was second nature. As I was about to enter the courtroom, I paused and thought, ―What in the heck am I doing … am I really ready to be a judge?‖ Within seconds I entered the courtroom and heard the bailiff call, ―Please rise.‖ My life as a judge had begun. The speed, rapidity and degree of questioning, examination and issues that I had to decide were fast and quick paced. There was no room for gradual transition to this position … it was immediate. Central to Judge Jones‘s narrative is his sense of responsibility for the decisions he made. When asked about what stressors a judge faces that he hadn‘t realized as a trial lawyer, he cited the tremendous amount of preparedness that it takes to be an highly effective judge: I didn‘t know. I think that was the key. You learn to be highly effective the old fashioned way . . . time and hard work. Each person who becomes a judge brings a different perspective of what it means to be highly effective. To a few, it may be as simple as just making a ruling regardless of the amount of preparation that went into making the decision. A judge can come on the bench totally unprepared and make rulings. They may not be the best rulings, but they are nonetheless the rulings the parties must abide by for the trial. This aspect of the job is dependent upon the individual judge and their work ethic. The judges that I hold in the highest regard are careful in their decision making, thoughtful in the process and mindful of the power and responsibility that comes with the position.
Trial lawyers on the other hand have a different perspective of the responsibilities of the trial judge. I really believe that few trial lawyers have a real appreciation for the volume of paper that crosses a trial judge‘s desk in a given day and over a week. Sometimes it is staggering and consuming. Sometimes your week looks like trial all day and reading briefs until late at night. Many of the issues that come before judges are enormous with staggering consequences for the parties and others involved. Balance and having the ability to make a sound and careful decision have been the hallmarks of what being a judge is all about for me. One of the initial challenges when I became a judge was to drop the advocacy component of my practice. For me it was the constant expanding of my vision about a case to be able to see the bigger picture of resolution of the conflict before me. Each motion has to be carefully decided because any given ruling may have grave consequences later on in the trial, e.g., the admissibility of a critical piece of evidence that you grant or deny here and the impact that it‘s going to have on the case a little bit down the road. Not that you can anticipate and have an appreciation for every single nuance that is going to be developed in the trial, but the better prepared you are, the more thorough you are in your preparation. Some of the additional challenges in developing as a new judge are the pressures of isolation, the lack of opportunity to really spend a lot of time with a lot of people, the speed of decisions in terms of how fast they come, the volume of decisions that have to be made, and how big some of these cases are. The job is truly fascinating because of the involvement we have in the lives of so many. On any given day I can wake up, hear every major network and all the press reporting on an event and in a matter of days that same event can be assigned to my court for resolution. The amazing aspect of the assignment process is that whether you‘ve been on the bench ten years or you‘ve been on the bench ten days, that case may wind up on your desk just the same. So you have to be ready to go right after you drop your hand after taking the oath. On March 19, 2007, after thirteen years on Washington State‘s King County Superior Court bench, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Richard A. Jones to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Once nominated for federal court, candidates are subjected to an intensive review before they are confirmed (selected) to sit as a federal judge. In recent years, as the social policy stakes have intensified one jurist noted that confirmation battles are wrought with ―intrusive financial disclosure requirements and the redundant personal and
professional background checks‖ (Jones, 2005, p. 835). Judge Jones reflected upon the pressures accompanying the nomination process: The best way I can describe the confirmation—the nomination process—is if you took the entirety of your life, everything that you‘ve ever done and you balled it up and you passed it off to a group of people that you don‘t know, you‘ll never meet and you‘ll never have any communication with, and they‘ll make one of the most important decisions about your career. It can impact you in so many different ways if you make it or you don‘t make it. And these people run with your life like that for the next year to year and a half depending on how long it takes you to go through the process. There is a great amount of anxiety, frustration and anticipation that goes along with that process. Decisions are being made that don‘t have anything to do with you at all. But it‘s just part of the overall process: how appointments take place . . . and how the ultimate determinations are made when you‘re called up…when your confirmation hearing takes place. There is so much uncertainty around it. It‘s a very daunting challenge. It is something that you hopefully go through only once. Short of a higher court, and maybe not even for that, you probably don‘t want to have to go through this process more than one time in your life. Life as a federal judge really is a dream job . . . especially for a former trial lawyer. Eight months after his nomination, on October 30th, 2007, Judge Jones took the oath of office to serve as Federal District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington. While this confirmation presented a major shift in his career, he joined three former colleagues from the King County Superior Court bench and several other federal judges he had appeared before many times as an Assistant United States Attorney. The importance of collegiality among judges was underscored in his remarks: I had the benefit that was probably unique; there are four of us here that used to work at King County: Judge Robert Lasnik, Judge Marsha Pechman, Judge Ricardo Martinez and me. All four of us started our careers at the King County Prosecutor‘s Office. So we‘ve known each other for many, many years and that same crew also served as Superior Court Judges. This past enabled me to make a much smoother transition to federal court. It wasn‘t a question of getting to know my colleagues, we were already friends. On top of that I also had the luxury as a federal prosecutor of having tried cases in front of almost all the other judges
including the senior judges. So I had the unique benefit of coming into an environment that already felt like family. Judges‘ roles may change when they move or are promoted to a higher court. Those transitions require new knowledge and new relationships (Armytage, 1996). Judge Jones reflected upon the transition from the King County Superior Court to the federal court circuit: It was a huge transition to come from a trial-intense environment to a practice where the trials aren‘t as frequent, but the degree of the complexity of the cases is enormous. We have many nationwide class actions that are very complicated. We have a number of cases where you may make a determination that has nationwide impact as opposed to just regional or localized influence. While you must give every case your undivided commitment to excellence, oftentimes there are cases so enormous and challenging that your time commitment has to be extraordinary to make sure that you‘ve got it right. Judicial Characteristics and Qualifications When reflecting upon the qualities of an highly effective judge, Judge Jones underscored the importance of temperament and balance: I‘d probably start with someone who is experienced; someone who comes with life experience, not just legal education. There are some incredibly bright people who have incredible educational experiences, but they don‘t have good common sense and wouldn‘t make the best judges. To me the best candidate to be a judge is someone who is comfortable with whom they are as an individual. They are not afraid to make a decision, live with the decision and be criticized about their decisions. They‘re not afraid to admit or confess error or accept that they made a mistake in their ruling. They have a very strong balance in life. There are too many different emotions, feelings and issues that come before you as a judge that mandate a well-balanced perspective of life. It is imperative that you keep balance in your life or you magnify greatly the degree of difficulty of the decisions you have to make. As difficult as it may seem, you have to keep the other distractions in life separate from your work as a judge. Otherwise you run the grave risk that those other matters can create bias, conflict or confusion in dealing with the matters before you.
One of the traits of the highly developed judge according to Claxton and Murrell (1992) is the ability to think in complex ways. Judge Jones emphasized the importance of integrated thinking while discussing balancing independent thought and commitment to the law: I‘d also say an effective judge must have openness to different approaches. It‘s not necessarily always [done] your way just because you‘re the judge. You ultimately make the decision, but the concept of being open to different schools of thought and approaches remains. The ability to be open and willing to accept other perspectives is how the law develops over the course of time. The ability to have the concept of independence within the scope of your authority as a judge is also crucial. My job is to be a judge, not to fulfill the role of an executive or a legislative body. Those are not my responsibilities; I was not hired to do that. As an Article III judge [Federal Court judge], I have specific, defined roles of what I‘m supposed to do. So it‘s important to have the capacity to be independent in thought within the confines of the law. Oftentimes there is a need to try and create or define the law that may be a little bit different. But again, you must stay within the confines of the authority you‘re entrusted with as a judge. Communication Skills. Scholars and legal practitioners have long recognized that a judge‘s communication skills, verbal and nonverbal, may greatly influence the trial process and subsequent outcomes (Blanck, Rosenthal and Cordell, 1985). Facial expressions, gestures and other nonverbal communications, that are biased against the defendant and his/her counsel, exemplify undesirable judicial behavior and can adversely affect the fairness of a trial. Canon 3B(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct (ABA, 2004) deals with judicial demeanor, and lists the desirable behaviors of the trial judge as being ―patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity…‖ (p. 105). Section 3B(4) has several purposes, one of which is to engender respect for the judicial system by ensuring judges exercise ―restraint over their conduct and utterances‖ (p. 105). The Code‘s commentary
elaborates on the importance of Canon 3B(4): ―The people who come before the court, including lawyers, witnesses, jurors, spectators and court staff cannot be expected to respect the judiciary when judges are rude, sarcastic, or impatient‖ (p. 106). Judge Jones responded to a probing question about judicial demeanor and the appearance of listening by saying: Body language, or the absence thereof, is very important in terms of how one is perceived as a judge. A judge can be criticized for just about any body language displayed. If you display a poker face you can be criticized for being inattentive. If you raise an eyebrow at the wrong time you can be accused of bias or discounting. If you show a slight degree of empathy in your look, you may be perceived as having made up your mind based upon emotion and not the facts. So what is a judge to do? It is the combined balance of what people see with the spoken word that makes the difference in parties feeling justice has been done. A tactic that I have utilized for years is to make sure that the litigants feel they have been heard. Even if I rule against someone, if they feel I understood their position and made a decision, then the outcome is more palatable. Some of getting that feeling that you were heard is when a judge can restate what your position was when you complete your argument. You‘d be surprised how many times on motions or arguments that clients and their lawyers will nod their heads as I begin restating their positions or asking them to confirm that my summary of their position is accurate. Why? Because they‘re saying to themselves, ―He‘s paying attention . . . he heard what I said . . . he understands what‘s taking place.‖ And that simple tool—that simple tactic by a judge—makes an enormous amount of difference for people walking away feeling that justice has been done. Sensitivity. In addition to effective communication skills such as body language, Judge Jones identified sensitivity as one of the necessary attributes of an effective judge: I‘d say the concept of sensitivity . . . to me is a very necessary component to being an effective judge. It‘s not sensitivity to the extent you‘re feeling sorry for anyone that comes into your courtroom. Rather, the fact is that as a judge you must consider the individual before you and not stigmatize them because of the nature of the charge against them or the type of allegations involved. Because of the volume of cases we have involving drug violations or sex offenses, it would be easy to stereotype all such offenders and adopt a warehouse approach to justice. Obviously this would be unfair.
Individuals come to our courts involved with a history of circumstances that warrant various considerations whereby pure punishment isn‘t always the answer. A judge must be vigilant to the responsibility of being sensitive to the unique circumstances of each person coming before us. We have to maintain a very strong, conscientious approach to maintaining a high degree of sensitivity to the backgrounds and circumstances that come with the individuals before us. We have no idea of the web of problems that that person might live with every single day [Emphasis added]. We can‘t be warped in our own perception of dealing with those individuals. So, I‘d say maintaining a sense of sensitivity towards others who come into your courtroom is key. Coping Strategies. Considering the various pressures that judges face, Judge Jones cited the importance of assessing a candidate‘s experience with work-related stress, coping strategies and leadership styles: You‘d want to find out from a prospective judicial candidate what type of pressures they‘ve experienced in the past and how they‘ve dealt with pressure. You would want them to give a specific example of how they have dealt with a crisis or conflict and the specific steps they took to address the matter. Did they share responsibility in resolving the conflict with other individuals or was it an individual determination? Did the candidate have to make the final decision by weighing the credibility or believability of witnesses? Can the candidate describe a personal challenge they had to deal with while balancing professional pressures and how were they able to balance resolution of both matters? You should also talk to them about different styles of leadership they may possess and how that might look to the outside when that style is demonstrated. Judge Jones accentuated the importance of emotional balance as he described the effects of emotional pressure on some judges and the importance of addressing this stress before it affects lawyers and litigants: I think emotional stability is critical. If your personal life is unstable, that can have a huge impact upon your ability to be fair in court. For example if a judge is having domestic problems with a spouse or significant [other] and they have a significant caseload addressing the same issues . . . there is a danger that the judge‘s own life issues could impact their decision-making ability at work. Over the years I have had many judges share personal matters in their lives that have nothing to do with their practice—but these circumstances were having
enormous impact on how they responded to litigants coming before them. On occasions they indicated they started to become more harsh and caustic in their demeanor. They became less than sensitive to individuals and oftentimes very emotional in terms of how they responded to the lawyers. Under these circumstances they may as well have had a megaphone broadcasting: ―I‘m having a bad day‖ because the lawyers, litigants and everybody else can feel it, sense it and can see it. So, if you‘re having other emotional issues, you need to address them before you take the bench. Experience. Judge Jones cited the importance of experience in the development of judicial skills and abilities: Every single bit of experience you‘ve ever had as a trial lawyer and as a decision maker helps you build your career as a judge. It helps you in terms of making decisions or resolving conflicts among parties. You use tools that you gain from so many different sources and so many resources you‘ve picked up over the years. When reflecting upon the case, State v. Ridgway (2001), Judge Jones reemphasized the role of experience in preparing himself to handle a high profile case: I‘d practiced as a judge for almost ten years, and I realize the importance of having that kind of background experience. Everything I‘d done as a lawyer and everything I‘d done as a trial judge helped me prepare for putting structure and organization around handling a case of that type. Professional Development Judge Jones frequently lectures at continuing legal educational programs and bar associations. He served as Dean of the Washington State Judicial College in 1997 and 1998, and is a regular faculty member of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada (Washington State Bar Association, 2009). This quote illustrates Judge Jones‘s commitment to continuing judicial education and lifelong learning: I just celebrated ten years of teaching at the National Judicial College. To me that‘s on the top of the list of things that are critical and necessary for a judge. As a trial judge, you either had experience when you came on the bench or you just learn it on the job or a combination of the two.
I relish the opportunity to learn from people that are far more experienced than myself. Judges can improve their knowledge through sharing with more experienced judges, or just through sharing with judges from across the country and sometimes across the planet. It helps me grow as an individual. I think any judge would be unwise to believe that they are at a point in their career where there is nothing else for them to learn. That‘s why I‘ve always been involved in judicial education. I‘m a strong proponent of judicial education, and I‘m a firm believer that if you want to rise to a higher level of judging that‘s part of the necessary components that you must include in your career. Judge Jones‘s commitment for continuing education for judges is expressed in his concern for the lack of adequate resources for judicial branch education: I think we are in a crisis right now, and the crisis is the lack of funding for judicial education. Most states don‘t have adequate resources to send their judges to their state training or national education centers for judicial education. As a result, that particular judge or those judges suffer. The result means that the national educators have to provide scholarship money for which they have to get independent funding. When budget cuts are made, it is easy to sacrifice judicial education. This is a huge mistake. Just like any other profession, we need to get the best of thinking from as many sources available. I think we have to recommit our efforts and our resources to ensure that judges are properly educated. Armytage (1996) asserted that the educational needs of judges are unique and diverse requiring a model of judicial education that addresses functional competencies, professional artistry, and ―promote[s] active self-analysis and critical reflection‖ (p. 129). Judge Jones commented on the type of education that judges need and the challenge of providing both fundamental skills and developmental education: In the terms of the type of education that judges receive, I‘d say there is a deep passion for judges to want ―nuts and bolts‖ education. Every time I‘ve been involved with an organization or committee providing structure to an educational program, there‘s often a criticism of that‘s too ―foo-foo‖ for me. If you talk about the ―touchy- feely‖ stuff, the emotional aspect of being a judge, the isolation of being a judge or the psychological impact of being a judge, or issues of things that don‘t have to do with the substantive practice of law… sometimes these proposals aren‘t well received. I, however, think we have to pay a lot of attention to these issues because of the demands and pressures placed upon judges. Many of us can handle the day-to-day pressures of being a judge and the psychological impact that it may have on us as a judge, but not everyone can manage this juggling
requirement all of the time. Not all of us come to this job equipped on day one to handle matters with high complexity at a frightening speed. Sometimes the challenges are like a blockbuster tsunami that you‘re not prepared to deal with. If there isn‘t some place, some resource or some entity that can provide that type of education, where do you go? Self-Reflection Judge Jones began journaling early in his career. Journaling has been found to provide individuals with an opportunity for reflection, strength and a personal source of meaning (Progoff, 1975; Walsh 2006). Judge Jones was asked what motivated him to keep a journal: When I first started . . . there were so many different things happening that I wanted to keep a log of my experiences as a trial judge. Then I also found that over time it was helpful to maintain journal for selfish reasons: speeches. If people wanted to know what life was all about as a trial judge, I could go back and share real life experiences. But for me it was just the ability to try and record, and perhaps at some point in time try and write, what it‘s really like to be a judge. People write and put things in context of a fictional character of who a judge is supposed to be, and most of the time in movies and TV a judge is not portrayed in a positive light. Usually the judge is portrayed with some quirkiness or aberrant behavior that leaves the character quite distasteful. People don‘t really know on a day-to-day basis the variety and volume of things that come before us or that require our involvement . . . from the mundane to the insane. One thing that was evident upon meeting Judge Jones and having the opportunity to discuss his career is how much self-awareness he possesses. When asked about his own self-awareness, Judge Jones returned to the impact of his childhood: One, I think that self-awareness comes to some degree with just getting older and the rest of it comes with experience. Michael Jordan didn‘t wake up one day and decide he was proficient at shooting three-pointers. Likewise, I didn‘t wake up thinking, ―I am aware of who I am as a person.‖ But when I think of who I have become I still think it goes all the way back to the University of 410 . . . my home life as a child. We had to learn at a very early age to be aware of who we were and where we came from without letting that experience become a boundary of what opportunities would come our way in life. So if you see that and have an
appreciation for that at an early age, then you become more aware of who you are as a person in terms of not letting your history and your background adversely impact you. Some people can talk about their family tree and how it got them to a certain point or it‘s going to help them get to the next level. Family trees only get you so far. Self-Image. In describing how he views himself as a judge, Judge Jones identified the qualities of self-control, communication and a sense of leadership in the courtroom: On the bench, I‘m different from how I am in real life. A lot of people look at me as being a no-nonsense, tight ship style of court demeanor and trial manager. One of the prosecutors called me ―the Sphinx‖ down at King County, because he couldn‘t detect any emotional reaction or anticipate my reaction to the arguments from any projected demeanor. I don‘t have any problem with this observation. From my thinking this forces the lawyers to focus on their arguments and minimize looking for cues from the bench as to whether I‘m buying into their argument. From here, my written and oral decisions speak for themselves. The ability to communicate is important for judges. I talk to the defendants and their families at sentencing. I talk to the litigants in my rulings. I try to get the lawyers and the parties to become involved in the resolution process to the extent possible and make them feel comfortable in expressing their opinions in court when appropriate. In the end, it is important for the parties to feel they had their day in court. If I am trying to settle a case, I put on my collaborator robe and do my best to engage the parties in having their hands participate in crafting a settlement of their differences. In a trial, I clearly wear my leadership robe so the parties respect the bench and the process. This approach I believe insures a respected judiciary and process fair to all in the litigation. So in terms of a style of leadership, we must be able to adapt as judges to the circumstances before us and at the same time maintain a courtroom respected by all. I do run a very formal courtroom. A formal courtroom was my first experience as a young impressionable law student. My first exposure to a courtroom was during the years I clerked for the U.S. Attorney‘s Office. The federal judges back then were very strict, strong and bright. They ran their courtrooms with efficiency and control of the process. Fast forward to today . . . when I think in terms of the expectation that people have or should have when they come to court it is in terms of a formal setting.
Different judges have different styles, some with more levity than others, but when the process exudes respect then there is greater respect to all involved in that process. It is up to the judge to set the tone in the courtroom. I think it was Justice Learned Hand who made the quote, ―Justice does not depend so much on legal dialectics as upon the atmosphere in the courtroom. In the end that depends primarily upon the judge.‖ I‘ve always believed that concept to be true. You set the tone and your expectations of the demeanors of the lawyers and participants early in the trial and they will conform. If you don‘t, then you will need to make constant adjustments during the balance of the trial. Leadership One of the themes that emerged from the data analysis was leadership. Judge Jones cited the importance of community involvement as an act of leadership in his own life: It is a question of how you define leadership and where your leadership skills rise. I‘ve held leadership positions as a superior court judge and as an assistant presiding judge for a period of time. But real leadership isn‘t confined to the work that you do every day. A different component of leadership is what other things you do in life, because I never wanted being a judge to be all consuming or the statement of my entire life. I have been involved in a host of different activities and different programs around the city of Seattle and outside the city of Seattle. My volunteer history reflects that when I have joined various programs as a board member or as a participant, over a period of time I wind up in either in a senior position, the board chair or president. This has happened a number of times, whether it was with the YMCA, group home boards or other non-profit efforts. I strongly believe this occurs because people look to me for leadership because they perceive me as being a decision maker and people feel comfortable with the history of decisions I have made. You don‘t get into a leadership position by making an abundance of bad decisions. People constantly proclaim that leaders are born. I don‘t ascribe to that concept. I know an abundance of leaders who were been born into tragic family circumstances and challenging social environments with no history of leadership skill in that family. Many times we have seen a remarkable leader that pops up, and we say, ―Where did that person come from?‖ I think leadership is something you learn over the course of time. I believe that most of us find leadership qualities in a person when we experience how an individual is able to deal in a crisis, keep a calm demeanor and work towards
resolving a conflict. Leadership is also defined how an individual treats other people during conflict or a crisis. Judge Jones commented on the challenge of judicial governance and the importance of judicial leadership in a crisis: Well, itâ€˜s one of the tough challenges you experience in a jurisdiction with a large number of judges. When you have a large bench, you are bound to have a number of very strong personalities and a large number of individuals who perceive themselves as very bright, capable and efficient individuals. The challenge then becomes, who will govern and will the other judges allow those chosen to effectively govern. You donâ€˜t want 75 people trying to be managers and run a court. No business is run with 75 CEOs. You have to have a person that is the leader of the court in all respects. All of the judges in our state (for the most part) are elected and accountable only to the citizens by election and ethical limitation. From a practical standpoint this means that as long as the judge is performing the duties for which he or she was elected, few other restrictions or controls can really be applied. I am not suggesting that an elected judge would engage in renegade behavior and act with distain to the leadership decision of their court, but the reality is judicial collegiality must be in place in order for any leader of that court to be able to effectively govern. In other words, the selection process for the presiding judge and the leadership team of any court must be well respected and supported by their colleagues. Every court must have a collaborative leadership team that the other judges have confidence in to handle problems on a day-to-day basis and provide guidance. A classic example was when we had that horrible shooting that took place at King County Superior Court. Our presiding judge then, I believe it was Ann Ellington, did a masterful job in providing leadership, sensitivity and guidance. She worked with everyone in the court to move in a positive and forward direction and to make sure that whatever decisions were made were wise decisions. Everyone felt that they had an opportunity to participate in the final decision or decisions that had to be made. For example, decisions had to be made about whether or not we were going to keep our courtrooms open until we had security at the entrances to the courthouse. The dialogue and discussion that took place was very healthy and very positive for all of us. We were able to come to a consensus on what we wanted to do.
Race Judge Jones discussed the impact of race on the judicial role, emphasizing the role his racial heritage played in his ability to empathize and speak to clients and litigants about discrimination: As a trial lawyer to a large extent I could pick and choose the cases I wanted to prosecute or defend. Because I eventually worked for a big firm I‘ve represented clients and defended cases involving claims of race discrimination. The different element I presented, however, was an element of sensitivity to the claimant‘s allegations while vigorously defending my client. I could communicate in a whole different level as a trial lawyer with my client and help them better understand why the claimant perceived their treatment as racially offensive. Most of the time I was successful in helping my client avoid the ―Let‘s just fight and ignore this invalid claim‖ approach to litigation. Because of my own background and experiences with discrimination I was able to help my clients see how and what had occurred exposed them to liability which oftentimes enabled them to have a better understanding of the claim and pursue settlement if that was appropriate. This same experience has carried forward during my time on the bench. Regardless of the outcome of the case, I always attempt to talk to the parties after a ruling or verdict is entered. On those occasions where the jury returns a defense verdict, it would be easy to dismiss the parties and go back to chambers. Instead, I take the time to talk to all of the parties about what has occurred. If a person leaves the courtroom with dignity then the matter is over and the likelihood of an appeal is minimized. Crucibles In characterizing the central role critical incidents play in how leaders develop, Bennis and Thomas (2002, p. 4) defined a crucible as: a trial and a test, a point of deep self-reflection that forced them [leaders] to question who they were and what mattered to them. It required them to examine their values, question their assumptions, and hone their judgment. And, invariably they emerged from the crucible stronger and more sure of themselves and their purpose–changed in some fundamental way. Whatever the crucible‘s nature, the leader was able to create a narrative around it, a story of how he was challenged, met the challenge, and became a better leader. (p. 4)
In light of this definition, Judge Jones experienced two defining crucibles in his judicial career: the Blackwell shooting incident and a high profile case (State v. Ridgway, 2001). Crucible #1: The Blackwell Shooting Incident The first crucible occurred on the morning of Thursday, March 2, 1995 when a tragic shooting occurred in the hallway directly outside Judge Jones‘s courtroom. Timothy Blackwell was scheduled to attend closing arguments in his marriage dissolution case. His estranged wife and two of her friends were waiting on a bench outside the courtroom. Blackwell pulled a semiautomatic pistol from his briefcase, shot and killed all three women (Hopkins, 1995). Hours after the triple murder, an anonymous King County Superior Court judge told a Seattle Times reporter, "This was totally predictable and inevitable. This is the most dangerous building to work in the county" (Constantine, 2007, p. 1). Judge Jones recalled the horror of that day and reflected upon the depth of emotion often associated with civil cases: Actually, it was probably about six months to the date of my becoming a judge. My chambers were on the second floor of the courthouse. Several judges had chambers in this area with a common lobby before the hallway open to the public. My chambers door was closest to the door to the public lobby. On the morning of the incident, my bailiff came into the lobby area of chambers and began explaining some complications we were having with the video recording system. Then all of a sudden we heard a loud noise. It sounded like somebody had a ball peen hammer banging on a metal door but my instincts told me it was gunshots. We had huge concrete pillars in this area. My bailiff didn‘t really know how to react . . . I grabbed him and put him behind one of these posts. We were trying to use these pillars as shields between us and the door thinking that someone might be trying to come in to assault and attack us. The circumstances on the other side of that door were frightening. Judge John Darrah‘s courtroom was directly across the hallway from the entry to my
chambers. He was about to conduct a hearing on a dissolution proceeding involving a mail-order bride and angry soon to be ex-husband. The respondent, Mr. Blackwell, came in upset about the disposition of assets and angry about a host of other things. The shots we had heard were Blackwell shooting his wife and two of her friends. I believe his wife was pregnant at the time. Immediately after the gunshots stopped there was a long pause. I looked through the peep hole, and I could see and smell gun smoke. I cracked open the door and the first image that I saw was Blackwell laying on the ground with a guard handcuffing him and Blackwell looking up with steel, cold eyes without a drop of emotion. As I opened the door all the way I saw one woman laying on the floor, and blood was starting to pool from her head. Immediately across the hall was another woman with a bullet hole through her forehead and another woman wearing an all white dress that was quickly turning red from the vast amount of blood loss. This was a living nightmare and very traumatic. I felt helpless in a lot of ways in terms of what to do from a security standpoint. I didn‘t know if others were involved in the shooting or if this was just the beginning of a larger assault at the courthouse. I immediately called court administration and asked them to shut the courthouse down and immediately terminate all access to the second floor because we had up to three killings that had just occurred. I didn‘t know any of the victims. But from that day forward, it put in context for me the trauma experienced by many coming to court over the loss of a loved one or family member due to senseless violence. It also put in context the reality of the environment we work in as judges. Yes, this can be a very dangerous occupation when you are dealing with emotions running this deep. People have a perspective that the potential for violence only exists in the context of a criminal case perpetrated by someone with gang affiliations or a long history of violent behavior. But you forget there are deep emotions in a lot of the civil cases. As a trial judge, that was the biggest eye opener for me in terms of the responsibility that we have. On any given day and on any given ruling, someone can snap, act out and cause grave harm to others merely because of a single judicial ruling. I can tell you without question the Blackwell case definitely had long lasting impact on me. Crucible #2: State v. Ridgway As a judge, Richard Jones presided over many high profile cases—none more so than in 2003, when he sentenced Gary L. Ridgway, the Green River killer to 48
consecutive life terms. High profile cases involving shocking crimes often bring about the deepest emotions (Wetherington, Lawton, & Pollock, 1999). Emotions ran high on the day of the sentencing hearing as families filled the benches of the courtroom alongside law enforcement officers who had worked the case over the past 22 years (Rule, 2004). Judge Jones was asked about the amount of pressure associated with the State v. Ridgway case: I remember the first day Ridgway came into court. I couldn‘t believe this case had been assigned to me. I grew up in this community and was no stranger to the fact that the so called Green River killer was almost mythical. All of these women had been murdered with no real suspect in mind and no one was really certain if it really was one person or a group of unconnected killings. The investigation continued for years without resolution. All of a sudden you find one of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the United States sitting in your courtroom. And, if the prosecution asks for the death penalty, several years down the road you may have to sentence this man to death. While that first day in court with Mr. Ridgway was clearly memorable, another life defining day was the actual day of sentencing and the buildup to it. I spent many sleepless nights trying to gear up: trying to get thoughts together of what to say to the defendant, trying to get thoughts together of what to say to the family members and just having the composure of dealing with that much pain for however many days the sentencing would take place. Judge Jones was widely praised for his handling of State v. Ridgway, particularly for his sensitivity to the victims‘ families (Brunner, 2007; Murray, 2007). During sentencing, Judge Jones requested a dramatic 48 seconds of silence prior to handing down Ridgway's sentence (Brunner, p. 1). Judge Jones closed by admonishing Ridgway: "The women you killed were not throwaways, or pieces of candy in a dish, put upon this Earth to satisfy your murderous desires‖ (CNN.com, 2009). Judge Jones was asked what he remembered most about the sentencing hearing:
Actually it was the evening before the sentencing; I finished my last thoughts of what I was going to say around midnight. I went up to the presiding department where the proceeding was going to take place. The custodians were busy buffing floors. The staff were putting up reinforcements. The cable was being laid. The media was still trying to put together everything that was going to be necessary for the following days. So literally, people were working around the clock. Up to that day we had been meeting at a furious pace to address the myriad of security issues, which I canâ€˜t talk about in this type of disclosure. An additional challenge was preparing emotionally and mentally for the hearing knowing the pressure I would experience the following day and accepting that every single word and gesture was going to be shown on various networks across the country. In fact, one of the news reports observed that the city seemed to come to a halt that morning; cabs stopped across the city and drivers stood outside the doors to listen; office doors were open with radios blaring as the events of the proceedings were broadcast; it seemed as if every television in the city was glued to the events about to unfold. I remember getting up that morning and coming to work. It was dark, and before I came to the courthouse I remember walking down the street to look at the courthouse because it was surrounded by TV networks, programming units, satellite dishes and mobile media trucks. I remember walking past one of the sound trucks over on Yesler [avenue] just to look in and see what it looked like from their perspective. Since I didnâ€˜t get much sleep the night before, this was a welcome, minor distraction considering what was waiting inside the courthouse. Shortly before the sentencing hearing, two security guards came to escort me to the presiding department courtroom where the hearing would occur. This was the largest courtroom in our facility. I was given protection that day to minimize the concern of harm to me if someone believed that would disrupt court proceedings. They escorted me to the stairwell, because the elevators at that point were off limits because of the volume of people coming in. One of the guards opened the door and uniformed police officers were lined shoulder-to-shoulder all the way up the stairs as far up and below as I could see. As I began the slow climb from the 7th floor (location of my chambers) to the presiding courtroom (9th floor) one officer saluted, and the others started to salute one by one as I walked up the stairs. That let me know the impact the case was having on law enforcement officers and the degree of respect they had for the judicial challenge waiting for me. When I got up to the top floor I sat in chambers for a period of time. I knew Ridgway was just a few doors down, because he was in special protective custody . . . and a special location as well.
Just a few doors and a small distance down the hall separated Ridgway and me. Yet, we were worlds apart with totally different perspectives about what was to take place. I can‘t imagine the thoughts going through his mind. Within minutes of the hearing beginning, I called my staff in, we got in a circle and we all held hands. I thanked everybody for the amount of work that they had done, handling the pressure and getting all the detail work done to make this hearing proceed without any unforeseen challenges. Then I asked if I could just have a few moments of silence. I remember trying to look out the window, and it was difficult because they had a large number of satellite dishes blocking my view as they were trying to get a feed out the window to the towers on Queen Anne Hill. I just stood there, just for a few minutes. There was so much going through my head at the time in terms of what was about to unfold and the volume of people that were coming in. It was dead calm quiet. Totally quiet. The room was completely at maximum capacity. There were 29 seats reserved for news reporters, 300 plus people in the courtroom, security all the way around and extra metal detectors for screening all who entered the courtroom. I had requested that my staff and everyone else be prepared to start on time right at the stroke of 9 a.m. Precisely on time, I heard my bailiff come in and say, ―They‘re ready for you.‖ When she opened the door and I entered, there was absolutely not a whisper in the courtroom. I remember just walking out. I still have video footage of it now. I remember walking out and taking a deep breath, and then just starting. My initial goal was to try and calm everyone down and set the tone of what my expectations were going to be for the hearing. I wasn‘t going to let it get out of hand. This was going to be a controlled environment. I appreciated emotions were running high with extraordinary anxiety, but this was a court of law not a television show. The tone to be set was one of respect. I was not going to allow the lawyers, the victim family members, the defendant or members of the press disrupt the proceedings in any way. I reaffirmed this expectation by advising all at the beginning that I planned to remain on the bench after the hearing and that I would announce when people would be permitted to leave. I didn‘t want this to get out of control or turn into a circus. A concerted amount of advance time and preparation had gone into insuring a fair and respectful hearing. In the midst of the emotionally charged sentencing hearing of the most notorious serial killer in the nation‘s history, Judge Jones continued his characteristic tight rein on the courtroom while projecting sensitivity to the victims‘ families (Brunner, 2007; Rule,
2004). Rule characterized Judge Jones‘s emotional sensitivity that he displayed throughout the hearing: ―Judge Jones had read the letters from the anguished parents thoughtfully, and he recalled one. ‗There is a hole in my heart,‘ a mother had written. ‗A vacancy that only my child can occupy. The emptiness is deep and it hurts‘‖ (p. 650). Emotion-laden notorious cases such as State v. Ridgway deeply impact the lives not only of the victims‘ families and those close to the case, but also present tremendous pressure and stress on the judge who serves as the final arbiter between justice and accountability (Jaffe et al., 2006). Judge Jones reflected upon the impact the Ridgway case had on him: I‘d say it‘s changed my life to the extent of community reaction. To some extent and for a period of time I lost my identity. People began and still refer to me as the ―Green River Judge.‖ On many occasions I have been introduced in public settings as the ―Green River Judge.‖ On other occasions I will be out in public and someone will come up, sometimes a victim‘s family member or an observer who just watched what took place on TV and they approach me and just say, ―Thank you.‖ I think I shared with you the story about the woman that came up to me in Costco. She was a relative of one of the victims. Her husband confirmed I was the ―Green River Judge‖ before she came up to me. She said thank you, extended her arms and I just held her as she sobbed. Sometimes it‘s just a hug and giving someone an opportunity to cry speaks greater volume than any combination of words. The high profile case encompasses many judicial stressors (Murphy et al., 1998). In State v. Ridgway, Judge Jones faced horrific testimony, intense emotional grief on the part of victims‘ families, worldwide media coverage and a mixture of administrative challenges including extra security concerns and the pressure to ensure fairness for the parties in a potential death penalty case (Prothero & Smith, 2006; Rule, 2004).
In the following section, Judge Jones identifies the most prevalent judicial stressors that he has experienced personally and observed in colleague throughout his judicial career. Judicial Stressors Isolation According to Zimmerman (2000), judicial isolation is an inherent part of being a judge. In his clinical practice with judges, Zimmerman found that isolation has the potential to ―seriously diminish a judge‘s intellectual and social abilities‖ (p. 6). Judge Robert Satter (1990) identified isolation as a stressor that judges experience as soon as they transition from attorney to judge. He wrote, ―But the biggest jolt was discovering the loneliness of being a judge. Everything about the job conspired against me—physically, socially, emotionally. Sometimes I felt like a quarantined child looking wistfully out the window at playing friends‖ (p. 35). Judge Jones commented on judicial isolation and its impact on an individual: There‘s no question it‘s something that impacts you almost immediately. In the type of work I had done immediately before becoming a judge, I was a federal prosecutor, and in that context I was around people all the time. I was interacting with agents and investigations constantly. I was either in court, preparing for trial or conducting an investigation where I was interacting one-on-one with folks. As a trial judge, your interaction one-on-one is not as direct. You‘re distanced to a significant degree from other lawyers that you used to be associated with more closely. You can‘t get too close because of concerns of the appearances of fairness. Not that you stop socializing with your friends, but you realize that you make decisions by yourself. You rule by yourself, and the responsibility is yours as the case is assigned to you. You want to make sure that the entirety of your decision-making process is free of taint or the appearance of influence by anyone. One of the big issues we have to wrestle with as judges when we first get started is the degree of isolation. In the work that I do now, we have a limited staff and there are days that we come in, briefly chat in the morning and then we hunker
down in our think tanks. Then for hours it‘s perfectly quiet and calm, and everybody‘s just working. You find that that changes you to a degree. You find that the level of cacophony and noise that you‘re used to in the regular day-to-day world . . . starts to go down at some point, and you adjust to that. It is something that you are impacted by and pay attention to. Just the psychology of the isolation is a major factor. It‘s one of the things I always talk about when someone talks to me about becoming a judge. Generally speaking, unless you have law clerks to assist in your research you are responsible for all decisions made under your tenure. While it is perfectly ethical to generally discuss matters with your judicial colleagues, you ultimately are the one who has to make the decision. When you‘re in trial you are making decisions and rulings all day. Regardless of your degree of comfort with the subject matter before you, you still make the call and you have to live with it. This means that a lot of your work is done in isolation. Workload The perpetually overcrowded docket and understaffed bench constantly plagues many judges in the court system (Ostrom & Hanson, 1999). While many professions suffer from busy work schedules, judges are expected to cope with an overloaded caseload while managing a stressful courtroom and rendering calmly reasoned decisions (Zimmerman, 2006). The high profile case not only impacts the existing workload, but also creates additional work demands (Murphy et al., 1998). Judge Jones commented on the workload challenges associated with the Ridgway case: There were so many other things that had to be done behind the scenes that don‘t normally go with other trials. I‘ve had many other high profile cases that were on the front page of the newspaper over the course of my career, but that particular case had a lot of behind the door preparation. If it was just a trial, I‘ve done countless trials. I‘ve done more than my fair share of murder trials. I‘ve done a lot of high profile cases. It wasn‘t just having a high profile case; it was the sheer magnitude of what was involved. To put in context the size of the case, this case had evidence that included 170 video tapes, 500 audio tapes, 15,000 photographs, 10,000 pieces of evidence and 200 plus other suspects. This meant that we had the potential of having to go through hearings dealing with whether or not these other suspects could possibly
be used as evidence for the defense. To put it in context, at one time there were 25 full-time detectives who were generating thousands of pages of documents. Tony Savage, one of Ridgway‘s attorneys, filed a motion seeking an increase in the number of lawyers to assist in the defense. In argument he represented, ―With four lawyers and assuming one million pages divided equally, assuming we read each page, made notes and understood the material at a rate of four minutes per page . . . and read steadily for eight hours a day, including weekends, it would take four of us more than five years just to read the paperwork.‖ His request was granted and a total of seven lawyers became the defense team. The prosecution also had a large team of lawyers and a host of detectives working full time. Unfortunately, I didn‘t have the luxury of any legal or judicial assistance. I remained solely responsible. I had no law clerks or assistants at any level. Now the court had committed, once we got close to trial, to hire a lawyer to assist in some of the briefing. We never got to that point, which meant that I had to prepare and rule on all the different variety of motions that were presented to the court and all the reading that took place. When I talk about the challenges of the case I mostly reference the pretrial issues. That didn‘t have anything to do with marshalling the immediate and enormous demands from the media, organizing what was going to take place, dealing with administration, dealing with concerns from the county and other pressures of budget or the staggering cost of taking a case of this magnitude to trial. Had this case been in a smaller jurisdiction it would have bankrupted a smaller county‘s budget. So there were a lot of different pressures from a lot of different sources. When asked about the most difficult aspect of handling the Ridgway case, Judge Jones reiterated the enormous volume of work and the importance of handling a death penalty case with precision: I‘d say just the sheer volume was the most difficult aspect, because there was just so much that was there. Every manual or text on handling death penalty cases begins with the same advice: ―death is different.‖ Every motion opened up a different cavern of information or opportunity for potential error. In a death penalty case, any single error by the trial judge may result in a reversal many years down the road. Even if no one error rises to meet the standard for reversal, it may be the cumulative effect of the errors that reaches the same result. If the error is sufficiently egregious, and that one mistake rises to the degree of constitutional magnitude, then reversal is a given. That would mean that all the resources, effort and energy would have to be reengaged all over again because of a mistake made by the trial judge. That, in and of itself, is a tremendous amount of pressure placed
upon your shoulders. Can you imagine what the cost would have been had Ridgway required two trials due to trial judge error, not to mention the delay and appeal process? The bottom line necessitated independent and exhaustive analysis of most of the issues presented for my review. My approach on many of the issues was not to count on just the briefing submitted by the parties, but to double check what they provided to make sure their representations of the law was accurate. In addressing the importance of managing a judge‘s workload in the wake of a notorious case, Murphy et al. (1998) stressed that ―Whether a court operates a master calendar assignment system or assigns cases individually, a judge has other cases, other calendars, and the continual filing of new cases to deal with while a notorious case is pending‖ (p. 21). Judge Jones reported during the second interview that he maintained his original caseload assignments during the entire 21 month duration of State v. Ridgway. Judge Jones was asked how the Ridgway case affected his work routine: I talked to our presiding judge, Judge Richard Eadie, and he agreed that once we got to trial he would revisit the question of my caseload and then determine what if any adjustments could be made by reassignment of cases. I agreed to let him know when or if the burden became too great to manage. Throughout the entire handling of this process and the volume of hearings, I never called in a lifeline to ask for backup or reduction in the case assignments. I still continued to try all the cases that were assigned, all the motions that were sent to me and all the sentencings that were scheduled. My routine was exactly the same in terms of my other day-to-day responsibilities. Ridgway was an extraordinary case that required an extraordinary time commitment. Did it mean working late, working on weekends and a lot of sleepless nights? Absolutely! But I think as a trial judge you never know when this type of burden is going to come upon you. My routine could have dramatically changed had the case actually gone to trial. But in terms of my dayto-day structure, it was just a whole lot of more work in a concentrated period of time.
While commenting upon peer support during the Ridgway case, Judge Jones pointed out that judges‘ lack awareness of the many issues associated with a high profile trial: I think they were supportive to the extent that they could be, but I don‘t think they had an appreciation for all that was going on. I think the light came on for most of them many months if not a year after we finished the case when they asked me to give a presentation for King County judges on managing high profile litigation. I did it again for the statewide judges‘ association. When I presented to the King County judges I explained all that was involved and all the structure that had to be put in place just to manage this case. I don‘t think the other judges had an appreciation for what the case involved until this seminar was finished. Some of the suggestions and recommendations in terms of structure for dealing, for example, with media . . . are still in place right now in King County in terms of how they handle other high profile cases. Until you‘ve gone through it, until you‘ve had that kind of pressure, no one can really understand what‘s behind that chamber‘s door or what you‘ve encountered. Most trial court judges have limited control over the type of cases that they will be assigned. Judge Jones emphasized that the type of case coupled with workload volume can also have a significant impact on judicial stress: It‘s a question of: is your court experiencing an increase in caseload, and where is the increase taking place? Is it in trials? Is it in motions practice? Or is it just sheer volume? Is it an increase in a certain type of case? Is it an increase in a particular type of case that has a stressor for you? For example, if it‘s really difficult for you to deal with the high volume of drug cases, because we do a lot of drug cases, just the volume of those cases can cause a certain degree of stress. It‘s not that it‘s routine but we do it so many times, and you have so many people coming in saying the same exact thing. You‘re saying to yourself, ―Am I being fair to everybody who comes into this courtroom because of the sheer pressure of volume of this type of case?‖ If you were doing a lot of child rape, child sex abuse or just sex abuse cases in general, at some point in time your emotional balance or temperature can get out of whack in terms of how you respond or deal with some of these cases. Are you becoming hardened or ill tempered with defendants because of the volume that you‘ve seen? I‘d say an increase in caseload, depending upon where those stressors are, can have such impact on you unless you carefully guard against such a result.
Judge Jones commented on the relationship between workload and isolation and the impact this dynamic can have on collegiality: Particularly if there is an increase in caseload, the direct impact of isolation and workload is that you don‘t have time. Isolation is a huge issue for judges coming on the bench. First of all, you spend most of your time in your chambers and in your court trying cases. This means that unless your judges meet on a regular basis, the only time you see your fellow judges are in meetings. If you don‘t take affirmative steps to spend quality time with other members of the bench, you become isolated and that can impact collegiality. It‘s not that you don‘t want to have good relationships, but you really have to work at making sure that they‘re there. Pressure of Decision Making A judge must make a decision even in the most difficult case. Judge Robert Satter (1990) commented that ―When deciding a court case, I live with the possibility— probability—of making a total, irredeemable, and costly mistake. Even worse, of causing a serious, grievous injustice. That is scary‖ (p. 50). Judge Jones commented on the unique nature of the judge as a decision maker: It‘s one thing to be an advocate. You take a defined position, and you can walk away and not really have to worry about the opposition other than being able to counter the opposition. But as a judge you have to look at the bigger picture. You have to be able to make an assessment of whether this is the right decision, but move on from that decision while keeping in mind that the decision can be the basis for a host of other decisions and all the other factors. You‘ve got the rules of evidence, the rules of procedure, the rules of civility, the psychology and dynamics of what‘s supposed to take place in the courtroom and the expectations that people have when they come to your courtroom. People have very warped perspectives of what a judge is supposed to look like, how they are supposed to act and how they are supposed to perform in a courtroom. A lot of that stereotype has been impacted severely by television. You have to constantly, repeatedly remind prospective jurors and the audience that this is not TV drama and these are real people involved in real issues.
Highly Emotional Cases Highly emotional cases can come in many forms. Miller et al. (2008) identified three trial-related factors that greatly affect emotions: (a) graphic evidence such as gruesome photographs of the crime scene or victim‘s injuries; (b) impact statements made by victims and their families; and (c) a defendant‘s behavior. Judge Jones called attention to the emotional impact frequently associated with criminal cases and the importance of compartmentalizing as a coping skill: When you sit on a criminal trial calendar, week after week you hear stories of child molesters, rapists, murderers, very violent assaults and very violent attacks. You see gruesome photographs. Your mind serves as a repository for all of this data. You have to be able to compartmentalize what you do and the work that you experience as a trial judge. You have to be able to say ―That‘s not my life,‖ and try not to be overwhelmed by the impact that these cases can have on you. Judge Jones described how inherently emotional cases can provide as much pressure and emotional drain as the high profile cases and can often define the character of a judge: High profile cases can put you in that setting, but there are a host of other cases that never break the media radar screen that are as demanding emotionally as some of the high profile matters. For example, when a young child comes into your courtroom and testifies how she was molested by her father and her entire family is angry with her for ―putting daddy through this.‖ She may be seven or eight years old, and her father facing the possibility of going to prison for many, many years. She may even testify that the primary reason why she came forth was to protect her younger sister because she was afraid her father was about to do the same horrible things to her four year old sister that she had already experienced for the past few years. These facts may not rise to the level to warrant a drop of media attention, but the emotional drain can sometimes be just as great. The impact of that type of experience requires a significant emotional investment from the judge to make sure you are making the right and proper decision. You have to consider what words you can share with that young child to make them feel that they didn‘t do
anything wrong. You need to make sure when that child walks out of your courtroom they don‘t feel victimized all over again. Now, is there anyone there to critique what you‘ve done as a judge or anyone there to applaud because that was the right thing to do? Absolutely not! But, those types of events and how you handle such a challenge help mold and define who you are as a judge. To me the key is what type of justice you do when the audience is limited to the parties in the case and the decisions you made and how you arrived at the same were premised upon doing something because it was the right thing to do. Graphic Testimony Viewing particularly graphic evidence or listening to emotionally disturbing testimony has been identified as one of the most stressful aspects of the courtroom (Miller, Flores, & Dolezilek, 2007). Judge Jones described his first experience viewing graphic testimony involving a young child: I can tell you the first time I saw photographs of a homicide they included very graphic images of the crime scene and from the autopsy. I still have vivid recollections because it was a baby homicide and one of the first homicide cases I tried as a young prosecutor. The images depicted a three year old child who allegedly died from brain trauma caused by the actions of the step father. At the time my child was about the same age as the victim. The autopsy pictures displayed vivid images of the child‘s cranial cap being removed and the forehead skin being rolled over the eyelids. The pictures were horrifying and very gruesome. I imagine they [the jurors] must have had the exact same reaction as I did when I first saw the photographs and they would not have seen the volume I reviewed. Since that first exposure to such images I have seen scores of death and major injury cases that warranted displaying some portion of photographs to the jury. As the judge, my responsibility was to look at all of the proposed images and make the ultimate determination which images could and should be shown to the jury. With nearly 15 plus years of looking at such photos I can report that I still am still sensitive to the fact that the jurors will be looking at these photos for the very first time and probably have never seen anything like this before. The lesson to be learned is that if you are going to be a trial judge you will handle criminal cases and you are going to see your share of these photos. You will see the ―before‖ pictures or crime scene images and the ―after‖ images or autopsy
pictures. Then you have to make the determination of what you think will be less gruesome to go before the jury. The jury‘s going to see a small proportion of what you as a trial judge ultimately see. If you don‘t have the intestinal fortitude to be able to handle that degree of injury and trauma, then you will probably have a difficult time serving as a trial judge. You can‘t . . . say, ―Any crime of violence, I don‘t want to handle that.‖ If it‘s a case that‘s assigned to you, that‘s part of your job. It‘s part of your responsibility. If it‘s an ax murderer, a chain saw murderer, a strangler, a rapist, or whatever the person‘s accused of doing, part of your responsibility is to try these matters. You‘ve got to deal with it. Does it have impact on you? Absolutely it has an impact on you! But, it‘s up to you as to how you compartmentalize that and to say, ―That‘s what I do for work. That‘s not part of my personal life.‖ But the reality is even when you compartmentalize, those images will still come to revisit your thoughts from time to time and hit you at the strangest times in your life. Public Scrutiny and Media Pressure Cases involving shocking crimes attract enormous media coverage and situate the judge ―under the microscope of daily attention‖ (National Center for State Courts, 1992, p. 5). Prothero and Smith (2006) described the intense media coverage that occurred on the day of Gary Ridgway‘s plea. ―We walked up the hill from Tony‘s [defense attorney Savage] office to the courthouse. There were all the big trucks usually associated with intense media coverage, dish antennas arcing toward the sky, cameras and reporters underfoot. We made our way through the throng, as the reporters peppered us for statements‖ (p. 491). These conditions continued throughout the entire Ridgway case (Rule, 2004). Judge Jones reflected upon the scrutiny and pressure that comes from high profile cases: I‘d say the most stressful cases are the high profile cases, because those are the types of cases that place you under the scrutiny and inspection of the public where someone else dictates which sound bites or excerpts of the trial are placed on the air. This issue raises the entire argument of the appropriateness of cameras in the courtroom and whether they bring a different dynamic to the courtroom. When present, the cameras place you under the watchful eye of the media, the public
and the viewing audience who make an assessment of how justice is supposed to be done. Is that how a judge is supposed to perform or conduct themselves? Are they acting appropriate? Are they saying inappropriate things? Are they saying things that are proper? Does their ruling make sense? Judge Jones commented on how the high profile case defines how a judge handles pressure and the need for confidence in one‘s abilities and decision making. The high profile cases clearly help define who you are as a person, because it helps identify and guide how you deal under a high pressure situation. The emotions are running high because of the competing interests. It could be a criminal case or it could be a civil case. The quality of lawyering that is present in your courtroom, the organization that took place for you to put this case in court and the level of determination are factors that impact the pressure of a particular case. Whether it‘s a jury trial, a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress evidence, those challenges come with a tremendous amount of pressure. It‘s how you respond and how resilient you are to that pressure. When it is a high profile case, you can‘t yield to criticism. For example in the Ridgway case, I identified that there was going to be a large number of lawyers to be appointed to represent Mr. Ridgway. No other potential death penalty case in this jurisdiction at least had ever allowed seven attorneys to represent one defendant. But we never had a case that involved 48 deaths, a 20-plus years‘ investigation with over 200 ―other potential suspects‖ and high volume evidence. I wanted to do it right the first time, and trying to do it right the first time meant that it was going to require 1.9 million dollars in defense costs. When you have parks being closed and mass layoffs taking place, there‘s an extraordinary amount of public outcry. How could you possibly grant this number of lawyers for this one man? As a trial judge in a case where a person‘s life is at stake you have to undertake extraordinary steps to make sure all aspects of the case are fair. Not that you‘re going to do this more than one time or any number of times, but you have to look at the bigger picture and not yield to public criticism about the decision that you‘ve made. When a judge is sworn into office we affirm that we will support the Constitution. I don‘t believe that means we support the constitution only if it is affordable and fits within our budget. Personal Safety The threat of violence against judges and their families poses a tangible source of stress for many judges (Chamberlain and Miller, 2008). Chamberlain and Miller
emphasize that instances of violence ―create a sense of vulnerability and insecurity for many judges‖ (p. 237). Judge Jones commented on the reality of violence directed toward judges and the need for a pragmatic balance between emotional self-control and cautious awareness: There are recent studies that have referenced the substantial increase in violence towards judges at the state and federal level. That is evident from the fact that you‘re seeing more and more reports on TV and in the news media of attacks in the courtroom. We‘ve recently seen the deaths of judges or judge‘s family members, defendants acting out in court proceedings and defendants making personal threats against judges. You can‘t live your life afraid that someone‘s going to come and attack you, but at the same time you can‘t be naïve to the environment and the type of work that we do. You have to recognize that someone may be upset with a ruling you made on what you perceived as trivial, but to the litigant it caused an emotional reaction that accelerated to the point they want to cause harm to you. In the world of judging, we refer to people who make threats in two categories: the hunters, people who actually come out and try to do something against you, and the howlers, the people that just talk about it. You never know where someone‘s going to fit. Competing Personal Needs and Professional Demands The stress of overwork can not only affect a judge‘s emotional, mental and physical health but also have a significant impact on a judge‘s family and personal life (Zimmerman, 2006). Considerable attention has been paid recently to the negative impact of interference between work and family demands (Brough & O‘Driscoll, 2005). Judge Jones talked about how certain cases impact the home life: It‘s a challenge. I can‘t say it‘s not. Sometimes where you‘re spending more time gets completely out of balance. If I have a case that‘s going to trial, that case is going to receive my undivided attention. That means my family and community needs have to suffer. My family is most important to me. Yet there are times when my family sacrifices due to my absence on working on a critical matter at work. This is manifested by my having to leave birthdays and other celebrations early or not even being able to attend. This sacrifice sometimes occurs even with
my presence, for example those times when I have something on my mind and ―appear occupied.‖ Sacrifice also means not having the quality time to socialize and spend time with friends. It‘s a constant tug of war saying, ―What can I do, steal a few moments? What can I do to try and keep a better balance?‖ The only person who can really control that is you. Community Pressures Serving on the bench provided Judge Jones considerable opportunity for judicial outreach and community involvement (Singer, 2008). Singer noted that Judge Jones ―takes great pride in serving as a mentor for less privileged, inner city youths who are struggling against the odds‖ (p. 7). In the first interview, Judge Jones stressed the importance of giving back to the community and was asked about the potential challenges that community involvement posed. He commented on the effect of regularly being sought out by various community and civic organizations for public speaking engagements, and the added pressure of being a minority judge in a community and profession that seeks minority representation on boards and commissions: Sometimes community involvement can keep you out of balance. You have your family and your job, and if you are involved in the community those are three different tugs upon you. If you‘re actively involved in the community and your work is intense and demanding then two separate matters are then taking time away from your family and away from home. The more deeply you‘re involved in community activities means more responsibility and more hours away from other things that you need to do. So it‘s a question of keeping a constant balance and working towards keeping a balance in your life. It is a challenge. One of the other unique challenges for me is there are very few African American judges in our community. As a result of the combination of being a judge, of being African American and having grown up in this city, you know a lot of people. If people see you as a leader, then you have more people tugging upon you. It‘s not just the ethnic specific groups, but its other main groups that say, ―We‘d like to have you because you fit the ‗M.O.‘ of what we‘d like to have serve on this particular board.‖ Because of this expectation, the demands are even
higher. If you don‘t set the boundaries and controls, your day-to-day life can be swallowed up and absorbed completely. For example, I gave a speech at Rotary [about three weeks ago]. As a result, within 24 hours I had three requests to come and give a keynote at three different graduation exercises. Within a week I had eight to ten more requests to speak at events. Last week I was invited by a City Council member and the Tom Wales Symposium to speak on the topic of gangs, violence and the approach to dealing with gangs. As a result of giving a keynote at that program, before I walked out the door I had three business cards of people who were going to call me to see if I‘d come speak at their program, come help at a program or be willing to serve on a board. The more active you are, the more demands that are placed on your time. Is that a bad thing? No! Is it part of our responsibility? I think it is. It helps us get out in the community so you demystify who these judges are and who these people are who are making important decisions in your life. But you still need to keep a balance. The only time that people read us or hear about us is in the media regarding a decision that we‘ve made. People don‘t know who is behind that decision. If you are out in the community, then people can have a different perspective and say, ―I respect or I understand a little bit more. I know that that person wouldn‘t have come to that conclusion unless it was well reasoned. That‘s the person that I know and trust.‖ Protective Processes Judicial Temperament Local attorneys respect Judge Jones for his temperament and his ability to manage his court room (Prothero & Smith, 2006; Rule, 2004). Prothero and Smith, who served as defense attorneys for Gary Ridgway, described the characteristics that earned Judge Jones that respect: Judge Richard Jones—brother of Seattle music icon Quincy Jones—was a fine choice to preside over the Ridgway case. He was a former prosecutor (we weren‘t too happy about that), but he was well respected for running a tight, even handed courtroom. While on the bench, he may seem forbidding, but in chambers he can be warm and understanding, especially when a lawyer has a difficult case. Most of all, he was respectful of defendants. (p 144)
Empathy One of the predominant themes to emerge from the interviews was empathy. Empathy, or the projection of one‘s self into another person‘s self, is an important attribute of judging and the law (Gillis, 1988). Bolton (1979) emphasizes the central role of active listening in conveying empathy. During the first interview, Judge Jones was probed about the role of listening in judicial interactions: One of the paramount things is not what you say but that you make people feel they‘re heard. There are tactics and tools you can use as a trial judge so that people, whether they win or lose, feel they had a fair shot and a fair opportunity to present their case. It‘s not a question of you just constantly talking, figuring you‘d talk your way out of a situation. It‘s that you listened to what the arguments were, that you were prepared, that you were knowledgeable about the arguments and that when you make your determinations and explain your conclusions there‘s a reason behind the decisions that you‘ve made. It‘s easy to come out and say, ―I rule for the plaintiff‖ or ―I rule for the defendant,‖ but I‘ve found it much more helpful to try and explain to the parties how you got to that determination and the rationale in your analysis. Listening is a big, big part of what we do. According to Singer (2008), ―one aspect Judge Jones was especially commended for [in conducting State v. Ridgway] was treating the victim‘s families with dignity and respect‖ (p. 6). Judge Jones‘s responses to interview questions illustrates how he exhibits compassion and empathy for those involved in the trial process as well as a sense of responsibility for the impact his decisions and words can have on individuals: When people come into court and start describing their emotions, their reactions of coming upon a victim, what they saw in a defendant or other things associated with that type of an event, it has more of an impact upon you. It helps you to have the greatest appreciation on the planet for the importance of the decisions that you make and what you could possibly say to ease the pain of the circumstances. To put the challenge we face in perspective, we may only have one chance to tell a person in court something that could change the course of their life. I equate this to the conversation one might have with someone getting ready to jump off the top floor of a building. What could you say to convince that person from taking
that terrible leap? The same applies in court . . . what can you say to someone that will make a profound difference in their life? I‘ve talked to defendants who have lost a tough case at trial or who are about to be sentenced to prison for many years . . . in those cases . . . the trial judge can have a powerful impact. I remember one man who lost a long bitter bench trial. I went into great detail to explain my ruling and the reasons why he lost. When finished, he told me, ―I accept your ruling and this is where it will stop. You‘ve given my family honor and dignity by the words that you‘ve said to me.‖ And he said, ―That‘s all I look for. That‘s all I wanted when we started.‖ It‘s easy just to walk out and rule and say ―we‘re done,‖ and get on with your next case. While you may not recall the facts of the case or the decisions you made in a matter in a few weeks, you can bet the person on the other end of your decision will hang onto your words for years. Prior to sentencing Gary Ridgway, Judge Jones offered some carefully chosen words to the victims‘ families in the courtroom (Prothero & Smith, 2006). Prothero and Smith highlighted the manner in which Jones addressed the victim‘s families, and redirected their thoughts toward the many other women in need of assistance: ―In this community, there are hundreds of women who don‘t have families who love them, he said. Find them, help them. In this way you can give [your loved one‘s] life true meaning and dignity‖ (p. 517). During the second interview, Judge Jones was asked what prompted him to take the moment of silence for each victim: Up to that point in time, the newspapers had characterized the women as prostitutes . . . as having terrible lives or backgrounds. There wasn‘t a great deal of sensitivity to the families of these young women who were lost. It was still somebody‘s mother, still somebody‘s sister and still somebody‘s daughter that had been horribly and brutally murdered. I wanted to make sure that they had an opportunity to feel that justice was done for their families, just as I was there to ensure that Mr. Ridgway had a fair opportunity and a fair hearing. For me to acknowledge the family with a period of silence meant that I was telling not only the people in the courtroom that we‘ve lost lives in a horrible way but also I was telling the people around the community who were listening that these young women were important. These women weren‘t throwaways; these were family
members who were loved and people who had the potential to turn their lives around and be productive. It wasn‘t for us to make a determination to treat them as castaways. Judge Jones was highly praised for treating the victim‘s families with dignity and respect (Singer, 2008). According to Singer ―Many of the victims had histories of prostitution and were classified as throwaways of society, but Judge Jones said he would not allow that sort of attitude to prevail in his courtroom‖ (p. 6). Judge Jones reflected upon the impact of his words and the moment of silence at the Ridgway sentencing hearing: People pay attention to what you say and what you do in the courtroom, for example the moment of silence I required to commemorate the 48 victim lives in Ridgway. I had dinner with a woman and some other colleagues in Boston just two or three weeks ago. This woman volunteers on a special mission working with women in Iran. She was talking about the level of sensitivity in the United States compared to the sensitivity in some of the third world countries . . . and she was quoting passages by memory from my statements in the Ridgway sentencing proceeding. I asked, ―How could you remember this?‖ She said, ―I‘d never heard anybody say anything like that and it left such an impression upon me.‖ She said, ―I read it and read it and read it and I shared it with so many other women about the importance life has no matter how horrible other people perceived you as an individual.‖ This woman lived across the country with no connection to the circumstances of our case, but what she saw and heard from a court proceeding obviously had an impact on her life. When asked how State v. Ridgway might have affected him, Judge Jones focused again on the impact that judges have on other people: [The Ridgway case] didn‘t change me as a person, but it reinforced for me the importance of every single word that we say in a courtroom and the impact that you can have on other people. Whether it sticks with a defendant, for example in a criminal case or not, you can provide a significant degree of comfort to a family member as they walk out of that courtroom., You helped bring closure to them for something they‘ve been dealing with for the past 20 years. From the conversations I‘ve had with some of the victim‘s family members, the fact that they could walk out with their head a little bit higher knowing that the judge recognized that their daughter wasn‘t just a prostitute. She was a real being that
somebody loved. That reinforced for me the importance of what we do as judges. It‘s not just granting, sustaining or overruling objections. It‘s a bigger job and we really do impact people‘s lives. Referring back to the Blackwell shooting, Judge Jones identified the need for judges to be sensitive not only to the consequences of their decisions, but also to the stress of victims and litigants during the court process: That is out of the ordinary certainly, but at the same time you have to understand that the consequence of a decision that you make can cause people to react that violently, maybe not in a courthouse but someplace else. It was a responsibility not just for me but for all the judges to ensure that there was counseling available and for the employees to have the opportunity to take advantage of these services. It opens up your degree of sensitivity as a trial judge. When other people come before you that have been victims or observers of violence, trauma, divorce or whatever the circumstances are, you have a greater level of sensitivity to the impact that the experience has on other people. Active Coping According to Snyder and Dinoff (1999), coping is defined as ―a response aimed at diminishing the physical, emotional, and psychological burden that is linked to stressful life events and daily hassles‖ (p. 5). Data analysis of the interview transcripts identified several coping strategies employed by Judge Jones including: emotional coping, anticipatory coping, a positive appraisal of his life situation, self-control, alleviating stress by cognitive means such as compartmentalization, seeking peer and social support, and maintaining balance. Emotional Coping Adapting to stressful situations depends upon the capacity to identify and regulate feelings (Salovey et al., 1999; Snyder, 1999). Judge Jones commented on how judges must regulate their feelings in the wake of an emotional incident in the courtroom:
I‘ve had defendants try to attack me in the courtroom. One specifically was a very large defendant, probably six-four, 230 plus pounds. He and a co-defendant were charged with aggravated murder in the first degree non-death penalty case. The beginning of the case started with six defendants. We had a courtroom setting where all six were present in court with security guards, multiple lawyers and a room full of people. The defendants were angry about a ruling I made. The lead defendant, the largest man, stood up, picked up one of these heavy oak tables and threw it over. He tried to leap over the table, come on the bench and attack me. One of the other security guards fortunately jumped over the table and tackled the man just a few feet from the bench. Knowing these type of attacks have occurred across the country, the next step in the process is to ask do you have enough emotional stability to try and figure out what you do and how you handle this. Even though this person‘s trying to attack you, you still have to make sure that you‘re fair to that person. You also have to ensure that people coming into your court are safe. You can‘t let your ―I‘m angry‖ emotions affect your behavior. If it gets to that point, maybe it‘s a good time for you to recuse yourself. But then are you doing a good job if you allow the defendant to dictate what justice is supposed to be and who‘s going to try their case? If that intimidation works before a multitude of the judges, then defendants can pretty much forum shop and say, ―I‘ll keep intimidating judges until I get one I think I like.‖ Anticipatory Coping Folkman and Lazarus (1985) characterize anticipatory coping as the degree to which individuals can anticipate and react to lessen subsequent stressors in their lives. Judge Jones anticipated that Ridgway would create extraordinary demands on him and the court because of the media attention. As a result, Singer (2008) noted he took numerous steps to prepare himself for State v. Ridgway including attending the Courts and the Media course at the National Judicial College. In the third interview, Judge Jones identified anticipatory coping as an important skill that helps him deal with stress:
Oftentimes stress is caused by the lack of preparation, because you don‘t know what to do. You don‘t know what is to come. After trying cases for many years you develop this mentality that you try and anticipate what the stressors are going to be during the course of that trial. You try to anticipate what the opposition is going to do during that trial. There is always going to be anxiety and stress as you go into that trial. But the more you know and the more preparation you have, then all of a sudden some of that stress starts to go away. The same applies today as a trial judge. Every time I have a case, before it goes to trial I try to anticipate every type of objection that might come up from either one of the lawyers because of specific pieces of evidence. I try to anticipate where the lawyers are going to go. I obviously have some pretty clear ideas from all of the pretrial preparations. I try to prepare a case for trial as a judge the same as I‘d prepare a case for a trial as a trial lawyer. This has a huge impact on the ability to reduce stress. Decompressing Vicarious trauma has been identified as an occupational hazard for judges who are exposed to gruesome testimony, graphic evidence and intense emotional reactions from bereaved family members (Jaffe et al., 2006). Decompressing is an important skill for professionals with occupational risk of traumatic stress and vicarious trauma. Twenty-one months after Judge Jones was assigned State v. Ridgway, the case came to a close after an emotionally charged sentencing hearing (Prothero & Smith, 2006). Judge Jones reflected upon how he decompressed after State v. Ridgway: It was around the Christmas holidays. It was December . . . mid-December, and there was a sense of freedom when it was finally over. It was an opportunity to really take a deep breath of fresh air. The whole Christmas spirit, so to speak, up to that point really wasn‘t there. I couldn‘t get into it because I knew what was in front of me. But once it was over, there was a certain amount of reflection. Were there different things or different decisions that I would have made? I tried to get back into a normal routine as quickly as I could. I didn‘t take any special time off. I didn‘t take a vacation or go some place for a couple of weeks. It was satisfying just to have quiet time and down time. It was the perfect time of year, because things starting gearing down at the courthouse. I was just trying to get into my normal routine as quickly as possible.
Self-Control Another theme emerging in the data analysis of the interviews of Judge Jones was self-control. Goleman (1997) defines self-control as ―the ability to modulate and control one‘s own actions in age appropriate ways; a sense of inner control‖ (p. 194). Judge Jones emphasized the importance of self-control when dealing with cases containing gruesome evidence and emotional testimony: Make sure that your own emotions stay in check as a judge. It is very easy to become hardened after seeing something like that. You need to control your emotional response or reaction that you would have to other litigants in cases like that . . . and your ability to understand if you have what it takes to be able to handle these cases. Peer Support Mentoring, networking and collegiality have been identified as important strategies for dealing with judicial stress (District Court, Committee on Stress Management, 1996). Analysis of the transcripts indicated that Judge Jones places a high value on collegiality and networking with fellow judges. In these comments he emphasized the importance of peer support in crisis situations: I think there is an undefined understanding that when you come on the bench you should seek out a mentor or buddy judge. That buddy judge must be a person with whom you have utmost confidence in their trial skills, judgment and courtroom abilities. In turn your buddy judge must trust you enough to know that you will only call them to come to your aid in a crisis only when absolutely necessary. This includes responding to a legal, emotional or strategy crisis requiring immediate action. Even if your buddy judge is in trial that judge will come off the bench, take a recess and come to your aid. Now you have to remember that that type of call would have to fit into a 911 category. This can‘t be just a routine call that you can wait until break or recess or after work to say, ―Do you have a few minutes? Let‘s talk about this.‖ It has to be a genuine crisis situation.
I can recall an incident where a defendant tried to personally attack me in court and it was very violent. On the technical side I knew exactly what I needed to do. My call was more for support, to call a colleague and to share with them . . . what had just occurred in court. Having conversation with a colleague sometimes is enough to keep you balanced . . . so that when you do deal with the legal components of what you‘re supposed to do it gets a little bit easier to wrestle with. Balance Judge Jones cited his belief that adhering to a balanced lifestyle was important to his sense of self and well-being: to his quality of life. At one point, Judge Jones stated simply, ―To me the main thing is the more balanced you are as a person and the better prepared you are in the challenge that is in front of you, the better you‘re able to deal with stress.‖ He continued: Some people complain about certain things they have to do. But if you redefine how you approach what you do it is much easier to find balance. For example, many people hate to work in the yard; I find yard work and gardening to be therapeutic. I look forward to this quiet time. Many times during the summer months, I will wake up quite early and work in my garden. By the time I head to work I am amazingly relaxed. Another example is the joy of cooking. Some people hate to come home at the end of a day and prepare a meal. I find it completely relaxing, to come and create something that others will enjoy. These are just a couple of examples of simple things I do to create balance and relax after a full day of trial. Bennis and Thomas (2002) stressed the importance of balance between work and career for leaders. Judge Jones identified the need to have balance regarding one‘s judicial identity: The other important element is having a balance in life, so that your life is not predicated upon just how you exist as a judge. I know a few judges whose life‘s existence is having a black robe to put on every single day. A friend of mine put this in context for me. He was also a federal judge who passed away a couple of years ago. In his last days we sat down and talked. He said, ―Richard just remember one thing. As a judge, at some point in time, somebody‘s going to come in and tell you it‘s time to hang up your robe. All the excitement, the flash
and dash of cameras, high profile cases and all the things you‘ve ever been involved in are just gone. If you haven‘t built enough about you as an individual, so that there‘s more to life than just your robe, then you‘ve got a lot of work to do.‖ These words of wisdom reaffirmed how I have tried to approach my time of the bench and this mantra has been part of my life for years. You surround yourself and build other components of existence and other important values around you so that you can hang your robe up at the end of the day and have a rich life in front of you. Resilience Resilience was defined by Walsh (2006) as ―the ability to rebound from crisis and overcome life challenges‖ (p. ix). The theme of resiliency emerged from the analysis of Judge Jones‘s stories of early childhood experiences, family encounters with racism, early career incident with discrimination and two significant crucible experiences. When asked about the source of his resilience, Judge Jones referred to facing challenges and learning from experience: I think it comes with experience. There is no course you can go to for 40 hours, come out and say, ―I‘m certified resilient at this point in time.‖ It‘s not going to happen. Resiliency comes from having challenges, facing the challenges, sometimes making the right decision as a trial judge, being criticized and sometimes even being severely criticized. Sometimes it involves being castigated in the newspapers over a decision you‘ve made and having a big enough selfawareness that you‘re not going to be adversely impacted. Knowing that you‘ve done the job that you think was the best job that you could do. Resiliency will come about from having those experiences that happen time and again. Sometimes a positive review is in the newspaper and sometimes they‘re negative. But, after you‘ve had one or two cases, after a few years on the bench, your resiliency becomes stronger and more expansive. For those individuals where it doesn‘t expand, those are the individuals where you start to see lower ratings in the bar and more disgruntled trial participants. Those are the judges I don‘t think last long on the bench. This is a tough job. It‘s a tough job, and you have to be resilient. Walsh (2006) emphasized that ―resilience is fostered when family members are able to view their crisis situation or prolonged adversity in context‖ (p. 58). When asked
where he gets his resilience, Judge Jones again referred back to the powerful influence of his childhood: It‘s mostly from back at the University of 410 where we grew up. We grew up in a time and environment that was a difficult challenge all the way around. That‘s something that you learn from experience and environment. You‘re tested constantly. The findings indicated that Judge Jones demonstrated a high degree of resiliency during his experience with two crucibles: a high profile case (State v. Ridgway, 2001) and the Blackwell shooting incident. In addition, Judge Jones experienced numerous other stressors throughout his judicial career common to the judicial profession (Bremer, 2002; Eells & Showalter, 1994; Hunter, 2006; Jaffe et al., 2006; Memory, 1981; Zimmerman, 1981, 2006) such as: isolation, workload pressures, safety and security concerns, highly emotional cases that often include exposure to graphic testimony and gruesome evidence, public scrutiny and media pressure.
Summary In chapter 4 the findings of this study‘s exploration of the resilient attributes of Judge Richard Jones were presented. The chapter was organized into the following thematic sections: identity, crucibles, judicial stressors and protective processes. Results drawn from in-depth interviews provided quotations from Judge Jones that addressed the three research questions. In addition, the study relied on other sources of data such as historical accounts, articles, media materials and courtroom observations. What emerged from the various sources of data was evidence of protective processes and coping skills that make up a set up resilient attributes. Findings indicated that Judge Jones has a high degree of emotional intelligence distinguished by a strong
personal and professional identity, self-awareness, self-confidence, optimism, and selfefficacy. His interpersonal strengths include: excellent communication skills, leadership abilities, empathy, attunement, and social cognition. In addition to a high degree of tolerance for distress, he possesses a number of specific coping mechanisms including: anticipatory coping, cognitive mechanisms such as compartmentalization, sense of humor, strong social support and active involvement in leisure activities. The next chapter presents a summary of the study and a discussion of the results. This includes an interpretation of the findings and discussion regarding the relationship of the current study to the literature on resiliency. Chapter 5 closes with recommendations for judicial educators and further research.
112 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction Over the past 20 years, researchersâ€˜ interest in organizational health and wellness has grown considerably (Antoniou & Cooper, 2005). The relationship between stress, burnout, low job performance and decision making is well established (Hancock & Desmond, 2000). Despite the extensive anecdotal information that judges face extraordinary amounts of stress and the plethora of research on stress in the workplace, one profession that has been underrepresented in stress-related research is judges (Chamberlain & Miller, 2008). Notwithstanding the limited number of studies addressing judicial stress, research and anecdotal information indicates that trial court judges experience high levels of stress and exhibit strain in various forms such as expressing annoyance to lawyers and litigants, having trouble making decisions, experiencing difficulty concentrating and burnout (Eells & Showalter, 1994; Gray, 2002; Hunter, 2006; Jaffe et al., 2006; 1994; Memory, 1981, Zimmerman, 1981, 2006). Ultimately, the manifestation of stress in the form of strain has significant consequences for both the individual judge and the judicial system by way of reduced efficiency, interpersonal conflicts, lack of engagement, physical and mental health concerns and negative behaviors that may lead to ethical violations (Hancock & Desmond, 2000; Hobfoll, 1998; Noe, 1989; Osipow, 1998). The concept of human resilience has received considerable attention in recent years in the psychological literature (Richardson, 2002). In this study, resilience is
defined as â€•the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful. It is an active process of endurance, self-righting, and growth in response to crisis and challengeâ€– (Walsh, 1998b, p. 4). The concept of resilience offers a salutogenic approach to the study of stress (Antonovsky,1996). From a research perspective, a salutogenic approach focuses on why individuals demonstrate resiliency despite significant stress (Antonovsky). From this perspective it seeks to identify the forces that promote resiliency and influence a person positively (Benard, 2006). The purpose of this study was to discover, describe, and understand judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced trial court judge, the Honorable Richard Jones. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case were analyzed. The researcher hopes these findings contribute to an understanding of the importance of resiliency for judicial officers. The study also aimed to expand literature on adult resiliency and transformative learning to aid judicial educators as they develop effective education programs designed to cultivate judicial leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Judge Jones was selected as the subject of this study based on his demonstrated competence and high degree of wellness during and after conducting a high-profile case. During his tenure on the King County bench, Judge Jones managed some of the most difficult cases in Western Washington including presiding over the sentencing of Gary Leon Ridgway (State v. Ridgway, 2001), who was known as the Green River killer. The Green River murder trial provides a uniquely visceral context for illuminating Judge
Jonesâ€˜s resilient attributes under extremely stressful circumstances. His handling of State v. Ridgway was inspirational, demonstrating outstanding leadership distinguished by selfefficacy, empathy, decision making and courtroom control (Murray, 2007). Chapter 5 presents a summary of the study and a discussion of the results. This includes an interpretation of the findings and discussion regarding the relationship of the current study to the literature on resiliency. The chapter closes with recommendations for judicial education programming and further research. Review of the Methodology This was an exploratory study using a single case study methodology to examine resiliency through the lived experience and perceptions of an experienced judge. The Honorable Richard Jones was selected based on his demonstrated competence and high degree of wellness during and after conducting a high profile case. The skills, traits, and attributes exhibited by Judge Jones over his career and in particular through the experience of the State v. Ridgway case were analyzed. Data were collected primarily through three 60-minute interviews designed to generate narratives that focused on the specific research questions. The interviews were conducted by the researcher in the judgeâ€˜s chambers using a general interview guide that addressed the following three themes: (a) identity and development, (b) crucibles, (c) stress and protective processes. The study also relied on other sources of data such as historical accounts, articles, media materials and courtroom observations. The constant comparative method was used to analyze the narrative data (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This procedure involved identifying and extracting significant statements
from the narrative; identification of themes; and a coding process of selecting core categories and systematically checking for relationships between themes. NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software, was utilized for coding, annotating, retrieving and reviewing textual data. The researcher also used a peer reviewer who independently coded the narrative transcripts, affirming core categories and identifying themes within each category. The researcher and peer reviewer then talked through the categories attempting to clarify the themes. The following sections, which are based upon analyzed data, address the key research questions. Discussion of Findings The findings indicated that judges have a need for resiliency, have protective processes or personal strengths they can utilize to be resilient, and have strategies available for developing resiliency. A number of factors identified in this study indicate how judges might develop and maintain resiliency in their work. The findings of the study are summarized in three ways: a brief recap of the findings which were presented in detail in chapter 4, a discussion of the emergent themes, and a comparison of the findings against the literature on resiliency. The First Research Question The first research question asked what were the essential characteristics of resiliency demonstrated by Judge Jones over his judicial career and in particular during a high profile case. The findings indicated that Judge Jones demonstrated a high degree of resiliency during his experience with two crucible events: a high profile case (State v.
Ridgway, 2001) and the Blackwell shooting incident. In addition, throughout his judicial career Judge Jones experienced numerous other stressors common to the judicial profession such as: isolation, workload pressures, safety and security concerns, highly emotional cases that often include exposure to graphic testimony and gruesome evidence, public scrutiny and media pressure (Bremer, 2002; Eells & Showalter, 1994; Hunter, 2006; Jaffe et al., 2006; Memory, 1981; Zimmerman, 1981, 2006). Protective Processes. What emerged from the various sources of data was evidence of protective processes and coping skills that make up a set up resilient attributes. Findings indicated that Judge Jones has a high degree of emotional intelligence distinguished by a strong personal and professional identity, self-awareness, selfconfidence, optimism, and self-efficacy. His interpersonal strengths include: excellent communication skills, leadership abilities, empathy, attunement, and social cognition. In addition to a high degree of tolerance for distress, he possesses a number of specific coping mechanisms including: anticipatory coping, cognitive mechanisms such as compartmentalization, sense of humor, strong social support and active involvement in leisure activities. The Second Research Question The second research question examined the relationship of the current study to previous research on resiliency. Judicial Stress. Despite limited empirical evidence concerning judicial occupational stress and the negative effects of strain on individual judges, studies do indicate the serious effects of judicial stress (Bremer, 2002; Eells & Showalter, 1994;
Hunter, 2006; Jaffe et al., 2006; Memory, 1981; Zimmerman, 1981). The findings concur with previous studies that show that judges experience stress in a variety of ways: isolation (Zimmerman, 1981, 1990, 2000, 2006); workload (Bremer, 2002; Eells & Showalter, 1994; Zimmerman, 1981); ruminating about important consequences of decisions (Chamberlain & Miller, 2008; Eells & Showalter, 1994; Hunter, 2006; Memory, 1982; Suran, 1982); a perceived or actual risk of harm to self, staff or family (Bell, 2007; Chamberlain & Miller, 2008; Rogers et al., 1991; Weiner, 2000); highly emotional cases, graphic testimony and vicarious trauma (Jaffe et al., 2006; Keilitz, 2001; Zimmerman, 1981, 1990, 2000, 2006); public scrutiny and media attention (Murphy, Hannaford, Loveland & Munsterman, 1998); and competing personal needs and professional demands (Zimmerman, 1981, 2006). The Third Research Question The third research question explored whether Judge Jones experienced an increase in resiliency as a result of his career experiences. While several of the key protective processes Judge Jones possesses can be traced to his childhood experiences, findings indicate a pattern of growth and development in resiliency throughout his life. For example, his self-esteem was tested by discrimination as he entered into the legal profession. Buoyed by friends and a strong social network, this unexpected and challenging event did not disrupt his goal to practice law but may have served to further strengthen resilient qualities. His inner locus of control undergirded an optimistic confidence in his ability to shape events.
Based upon the findings of this study it is difficult to determine the extent to which Judge Jones experienced an increase in resiliency as a result of his career experiences or whether he was just endowed with a high degree of resiliency as a result of his childhood. The crucibles that Judge Jones faced on the bench may or may not have catalyzed new growth in resiliency, but his response to them definitely demonstrated the depth of his resilient qualities. They also deepened his regard for the seriousness of judicial decisions and the impact of these in both civil and criminal cases. Crucibles. Bennis and Thomas (2002) defined a crucible as: a trial and a test, a point of deep self-reflection that forced them [leaders] to question who they were and what mattered to them . . . invariably they emerged from the crucible stronger and more sure of themselves and their purpose– changed in some fundamental way. Whatever the crucible‘s nature, the leader was able to create a narrative around it, a story of how he was challenged, met the challenge, and became a better leader. (p. 4) Bennis and Thomas (2002) maintained that the ―extraction of wisdom from the crucible experience is what distinguishes our successful leaders from those who are broken or burnt out by comparable experiences‖ (p. 94). The crucibles Judge Jones described were varied in duration, details and dynamics, yet both were significant transformative learning journeys that developed his experience, wisdom and resiliency. Witnessing the aftermath of the Blackwell shooting incident outside his courtroom significantly affected his judicial philosophy. The findings indicated that as a result of this crucible, Judge Jones came to recognize at a very deep personal level the effect court decisions have on litigants and the level of emotion involved in civil cases. This theme repeats itself throughout the interviews: a sense of connectedness to the litigants, victims, families, and all those who are affected by the trial process.
The Blackwell shooting incident also elevated Judge Jones‘s awareness for safety and security concerns in the court environment. It is hard to ascertain from the interviews the extent to which safety and security concerns continued to trouble Judge Jones as a result of the Blackwell shooting incident. The findings suggest that rather than becoming discouraged, disillusioned or traumatized, Judge Jones emerged from the Blackwell shooting incident retaining his enthusiasm, optimism and confidence concerning his judicial career. The Ridgway case did not necessarily place Judge Jones in personal danger, but the emotional stakes were just as high and the case had a profound effect on him. State v. Ridgway involved the most horrendous crimes, an unrelenting media, intense public scrutiny, unique management challenges, security concerns, an emotionally charged courtroom, and the always present pressure of making the right decisions in a potential death penalty case. The findings confirmed that the pressure of intense daily media attention can ―exact an incredible physical and psychological toll‖ (Murphy et al., 1998). State v. Ridgway not only disrupted Judge Jones‘s professional life but also his home and family life for months on end. The findings indicated that in some ways State v. Ridgway still might pose ongoing challenges for Judge Jones: I‘d say it‘s changed my life to the extent of community reaction. To some extent and for a period of time I lost my identity. People began and still refer to me as the ―Green River Judge.‖ On many occasions I have been introduced in public settings as the ―Green River Judge.‖ On other occasions I will be out in public and someone will come up, sometimes a victim‘s family member or an observer who just watched what took place on TV and they approach me and just say, ―Thank you.‖ I think I shared with you the story about the woman that came up to me in Costco. She was a relative of one of the victims. Her husband confirmed I was the ―Green River Judge‖ before she came up to me. She said thank you, extended her arms and I just held her as she sobbed. Sometimes it‘s just a hug and giving
someone an opportunity to cry speaks greater volume than any combination of words. Bennis and Thomas (2002) reported that ―the transformation that our leaders described when they talked about their crucibles was essentially a process of education‖ (p. 117). They emphasize that successful leaders ―have learned how to learn‖ (p. 116) and possess a strong desire to keep on learning. Jones emerged from State v. Ridgway with new skills as a result of the training he attended at the National Judicial College and the experience of putting those skills into practice (Singer, 2008). After the high profile case, he shared his insights and experience with fellow judges‘ demonstrating generativity through a desire to share his experience. Luthar (1991) has suggested a resilient individual may not necessarily be invulnerable to stress, but can demonstrate successful coping regardless of the presence of such emotion. Resilience does not imply invulnerability to stress, but rather the human capacity to learn from and be transformed by adversity (Grotberg, 1998). Thus, the findings suggest that Judge Jones demonstrated resilience in part owing to his patterns of effective performance in the years following State v. Ridgway. Emergent Themes Personal Strengths Emotional Intelligence: Studies of emotional intelligence (Feldman et al., 2001; Fredrickson, 2000; Goleman, 1995; Salovey et al., 1999; Tugade & Fredrickson, 2002) support the relationship between effective emotional expression and successful coping and resiliency. Findings indicated that Judge Jones has a high degree of emotional
intelligence distinguished by a positive self-identity, self-awareness, self-confidence, optimism, and self-efficacy Positive Self-Identity. According to Erik Eriksonâ€˜s (1968) theory of psychosocial development, a positive coherent self-identity is a critical developmental task of adolescence. Research indicates that a clear sense of identity is associated with optimal psychological and emotional well-being and adaptive functioning, and the ability to form and maintain intimate personal relationships (Waterman, 1992). Judge Jonesâ€˜s identity was forged by his childhood, family, racial heritage, education, and his own experiences with racial discrimination. Through the lessons of his fatherâ€˜s experience and his growing up in a difficult environment he developed considerable confidence in his efficacy to sustain the effort to succeed. This trait propelled him through law school and helped him overcome racial discrimination early in his career by turning injustice into a cause to mentor others. Optimism. Research shows that optimism, confidence and self-efficacy go hand in hand (Bandura, 1997). According to Reivitch and Shatte (2002), optimism implies that: we believe we have the ability to handle adversities that will inevitably arise in the future. And, of course, this reflects our sense of self-efficacy, our faith in our ability to solve our own problems and master our world, which is another important ability in resilience. (pp. 40-41) It has been argued that optimism not only helps an individual cope with adversity and pain, but also to recover from trauma and/or stress (Benard, 2006; Haglund et al., 2007; Seligman, 2002; Tugade & Fredrickson 2004). Findings indicated that Judge Jones has maintained a high degree of optimism throughout his career. In the face of an early career setback brought on by racial
discrimination, Judge Jones remained optimistic about his future. He did not interpret this setback as a deficiency in himself, but as an egregious wrong that did not diminish his self-identity nor affect his career aspirations. Rather, as a result of this experience, he later turned his energies into mentoring other minorities. In each of his new career transitions he was not undermined by setbacks, anxiety or difficulties but rather seemed to relish each new challenge. Self-Confidence. Judge Jones‘s self-confidence is probably best illustrated in the tough decision he made to request additional attorneys in the State v. Ridgway case. Despite potential disapproval from those in authority or the public, he chose a course of action he believed prudent in the long run. His self-confidence was evidenced in his courage to be independent in thought and in action. According to Goleman (1998), ―The attitude that the rules and standard procedures can be bent, and the courage to do so, are hallmarks of self-confidence‖ (p. 72). Self-Efficacy. Findings also suggested that personal efficacy undergirds Judge Jones‘s commitment and passion for consequential work. He learned this lesson from his father and it appears to be a strong family trait (Jones, 2001). This is closely related to a high level of personal discipline and strong sense of responsibility for his decisions. He focuses his efforts and strategies on the task at hand. He does not spend much time reflecting on whether he is capable. Judge Jones self-efficacy is linked to his passion for the role of judging as well as his sense of personal accomplishment. Self-Control. In observing Judge Jones in court, one gets the sense that his words and actions are carefully chosen, even in the most mundane circumstances. This form of
self-control is a extremely important ability for a trial court judge to possess as it allows them to think clearly and stay focused under extreme pressure (ABA, 2004). Self-control has served Judge Jones well, allowing him to ―stay composed, positive, and unflappable even in trying moments‖ (Goleman, 1998, p. 82). Such a moment was the Blackwell shooting incident in which Judge Jones remained calm enough to make necessary decisions regarding the safety of others. Interpersonal Skills According to Goleman (2006), social intelligence encompasses several interpersonal skills and abilities that can be organized in two broad categories: social awareness and social facility. Goleman defined social awareness as ―a spectrum that runs from instantaneously sensing another‘s inner state, to understanding her feelings and thoughts, to ―getting‖ complicated social situations‖ (p. 84). Social awareness includes such attributes as empathy, attunement, and social cognition. Goleman added that social facility ―builds on social awareness to allow smooth, effective interactions‖ (p. 84). Findings indicated that Judge Jones‘s interpersonal skills contributing to greater resilience include the following social intelligence factors: excellent communication skills, leadership abilities, and strong social support empathy, and an ability to recognize emotions in others. Social Intelligence. The relationship between social intelligence and resiliency is well established in the literature (Benard, 1991, 2006; Garmezy, 1971; Grotberg, 1998; Hawkins et al., 1992; Henderson & Milstein, 1996; Masten et al., 1990; Masten & Coatsworth, 1998; Rutter, 1987, 1999, 2000, 2006; Sergiovanni, 1992; and Werner &
Smith, 1982, 1992). According to Goleman (2006), social intelligence can be organized in two broad categories: social awareness and social facility. Goleman defined social awareness as ―a spectrum that runs from instantaneously sensing another‘s inner state, to understanding her feelings and thoughts, to ‗getting‘ complicated social situations‖ (p. 84). Social awareness includes such attributes as empathy, attunement, and social cognition. Goleman asserted that social facility ―builds on social awareness to allow smooth, effective interactions‖ (p. 84). This includes such abilities as synchronicity, selfpresentation, influence and concern. Interpersonal skills that have been linked to resilience include flexibility, cross-cultural competence, empathy and caring for others, strong communication skills and a good sense of humor (Benard, 2006). Empathy. Rogers (1980) placed empathy high on the list of necessary interpersonal attributes when he states ―it is one of the most delicate and powerful ways of using ourselves‖ (p. 137). Rogers (1959) attempted to provide a rigorous definition of empathy: The state of empathy, or being empathic, is to perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the ―as if‖ condition. Thus it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth. If this ―as if‖ quality is lost, then the state is one of identification. (pp. 210-211) The role of emotions, empathy and compassion in the legal process has received considerable attention and debate in the legal scholarship of recent years (Bandes, 1996). The traditional view held by Posner (1995) argued that "the internal perspective-the putting oneself in the other person's shoes-that is achieved by the exercise of empathetic
imagination lacks normative significance" (p. 381). A contrasting view, developed as a result of the narrative movement in victim impact statements concluded ―that the recent scholarly focus on benign emotions such as empathy, compassion, and caring has been crucial in challenging the marginalization of these emotional modes in the legal context‖ (Bandes, p. 364). Canon 3B(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct (ABA, 2004) recognized the important role emotions play in judicial demeanor ―He [the judge] should suppress his predilections, and control his temper and emotions. He should not permit any person in the courtroom to embroil him in conflict‖ (p. 105). The purpose of this study is not to discuss the appropriate role of emotions in the legal process, but rather to identify those protective processes that contribute in judicial resiliency. Empathy, according to Werner (1989, 1992), is a hallmark of resilience. The presence of empathy was found to be a differentiating factor in Werner and Smith‘s (1982) study of resiliency in children, and Walsh (2006) found a strong relationship between empathy and resilient behavior in families. According to Goleman‘s (1995) emotional intelligence research, empathy is described as a fundamental interpersonal skill. The findings indicated that Judge Jones demonstrated a high degree of empathy and compassion for others in a variety of ways. Judge Jones displayed empathy through his highly developed listening skills (Bolton, 1979). He displayed vocal empathy through tonal qualities as well as through his choice of words. His vocal quality expressed
warmth, understanding, caring and concern for the speaker at the appropriate time (Bolton). At the sentencing of Gary Ridgway, Judge Jones addressed the victims‘ families with tact and sensitivity (Prothero & Smith, 2006). He conveyed understanding for their feelings while maintaining a professional separateness from those individuals. Throughout the ordeal, he displayed an astute political awareness by carefully reading the groups emotional tone. His words were carefully chosen to maintain an emotional tone that balanced the need for dignity, respect for the rule of law, a sense of justice, and a strong need to convey compassion (CNN, 2009). Equally important in the Ridgway sentencing, was his ability to convey that he understood the situation that contributed to the young women engaging in prostitution. Judge Jones turned his empathy into a call for social justice and perhaps a path to healing for the victim‘s families ―In this community, there are hundreds of women who don‘t have families who love them,‖ he said. ―Find them, help them. In this way, you can give [your loved one‘s] life true meaning and dignity‖ (Prothero & Smith, p. 517). Communication Skills. As mentioned previously, findings indicated that Judge Jones has excellent communication skills. In listening situations, he gives the impression that he is attending with full receptivity. He attunes to the speaker with his eyes giving the speaker his undivided attention. Judge Jones displays empathy through his highly developed listening skills (Bolton, 1979). He displays vocal empathy through tonal qualities as well as through his choice of words. His vocal quality expresses warmth, understanding, caring and concern for the speaker at the appropriate time.
Social Support. The value of social support as an important aid in coping with occupational stress is well established (Baumeister, 1989; Cooper, Dewe & Oâ€˜Driscoll, 2001; Jacobi, 1991). One way to mediate occupational stress is to increase the support from social support theory examines the role of friends, family and co-workers in reducing the harmful aspects of stress and strain, by increasing coping mechanisms (Jacobi, 1991). The role of social support has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on job satisfaction and professional development, and is used in medical and behavioral sciences to provide treatment for trauma and certain stress-related illnesses (Hobfoll, 1998). The findings indicated that Judge Jones values social support and has a well established network of friends, family, and colleagues. The findings indicated that Judge Jones places a high value on collegiality and networking with fellow judges. Throughout his career he maintained active involvement in the professional community though teaching at local, state and national judicial education programs. Leadership Abilities. Commitment, courage, passion, discipline, candor, energy, conviction, inquisitiveness, self-knowledge, tolerance for uncertainty, listening ability, learning capacity, openness, mental and physical health, integrity, humility, and resilience. Those are among the personal characteristics mentioned in the management literature as important ingredients of effective leaders (Bass, 1990; Bennis, 2009; Burns, 1978; Gardner, 1990). The message is, in essence, that effective leaders are first of all effective people: healthy, balanced, emotionally intelligent, resilient and attuned to continuous personal growth and awareness.
Judge Jones demonstrated leadership in a myriad of ways in the court from how he managed his courtroom and other judicial matters (Prothero & Smith, 2006), to how he made decisions and responded in a crisis situation. He has demonstrated leadership through his community involvement in mentoring minorities, public speaking and involvement in civic activities and board membership (Singer, 2008). Finally, Jones demonstrated leadership over the years by his active support in judicial branch education at the state and national level. Friesen (2002) noted that judges of a particular court are a company of equals. Despite this shared governance model, individual judges are the sole leader in his/her courtroom and he/she occupies a unique position as leaders within the community. An effective court leader must employ direct, relational and instrumental styles of leadership to the tasks at hand (Griller, 2008). The relational and instrumental style of leadership which Judge Jones possesses influences his ability to unite individuals and groups rather than to set them apart. This was demonstrated in his deft handling of the Ridgway case and management of the courtroom during the sentencing hearing. The Blackwell shooting incident demonstrated tremendous leadership in the face of potential danger and personal harm. As a new judge, Judge Jones was faced with a high risk situation and responded with tremendous adaptive capacity. Certainly his emotional control and problem solving abilities allowed him to focus on the personal safety of himself and others while responding to the security needs of the court as a whole.
Coping Mechanisms Coping was defined by Snyder (1999) as a â€•response aimed at diminishing the physical, emotional, and psychological burden that is linked to stressful life events and daily hasslesâ€– (p. 5). As coping is defined here and in the psychological literature, the concept encompasses a wide range of problem solving behaviors. Simply, through the coping process individuals are able to survive and adapt to lifeâ€˜s many challenges through problem solving behaviors. The findings indicated that Judge Jones possesses several coping strategies that he uses to diminish the psychological, physical and emotional burden that is linked to stressful events and daily hassles in the courtroom. Anticipatory Coping. One of the skills that he used most effectively in the Ridgway case was anticipatory or proactive coping (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1997; Folkman & Lazarus, 1985; Greenglass, 2002). According to Greenglass (2002), proactive coping has three qualities: 1) it integrates planning and preventative strategies with proactive self-regulatory goal attainment; 2) it integrates goal attainment with identification and utilization of social resources; and 3) it utilizes proactive emotional coping for self-regulatory goal attainment. (pp. 7-8) The findings of this study suggested that Judge Jones anticipated many of the challenges and potential hazards that might arise during the Ridgway sentencing hearing and engaged in proactive strategies to mitigate potential problems. Conducting a dress rehearsal with staff and security in preparation for the hearing is an example of integrative planning and preventative strategies. Taking a moment of silence and
thanking his staff before the Ridgway hearing was an example of fostering and utilizing social support. Taking a personal moment of silence before entering the courtroom is an example of proactive emotional coping. Cognitive Mechanisms. Judge Jones underscored the necessity of â€—healthyâ€˜ compartmentalization in dealing with the highly emotional cases judges face. Few studies have investigated the positive outcomes of managing emotions through compartmentalization or considered in which contexts emotion management may be a necessary or vital function (Scott & Myers, 2005). One exception is Conrad and Witte (1994), who argued that compartmentalization may actually be a necessary coping skill in certain professions, aiding individuals in coping with stress through the promotion of emotional equilibrium. Likewise, Ashforth and Kreiner (2002) maintained that compartmentalization is particularly useful in professions where individuals must deal with traumatic human events or manage emotions because of uncomfortable situations that distinguish their profession on a somewhat regular basis. Lifelong Learning. The findings indicated that Judge Jones retains a strong commitment to professional development and lifelong learning. Judge Jonesâ€˜ commitment to lifelong learning is evident in his active participation in judicial education programs and his leadership role as Dean of the Washington State Judicial College. His active participation in judicial education and bar related programs placed him in a position to develop and maintain relationships with colleagues. The research by Cherniss (1995) highlighted the relationship between actively pursuing professional development and resiliency among professionals:
For the professionals to benefit from such support, they needed to seek out learning experiences and to enter them with an open, active curiosity. Four of the five most successful professionals had that quality. They didnâ€˜t see themselves as finished products just because they had completed formal training and received a credential. They recognized the need for lifelong learning, not only to keep up with current developments in their fields, but also to maintain enthusiasm and commitment to the work. This curiosity and love of learning was another important personal quality that contributed to recovery from early career burnout. (p. 160) Leisure Activities. The positive influence of leisure activities toward coping with stress has been implicated in a number of studies (Ardell, 1982; Gotleib, 1997; Iwasaki, 2001; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Ornstein & Sobel, 1989). According to Ornstein and Sobel, leisure is a means that people may use to help counter the negative effects of stress and promote coping strategies. Judge Jones enjoys numerous leisure and recreational activities and recognizes the benefits of those activities in maintaining balance. Recommendations for Judicial Educators Needs Assessment For Hudzik (1991), the needs assessment process includes documentation of a gap in performance attributable to discrepancies in knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities that can be addressed through training and stand a reasonable chance of improving performance. In the United States, the emphasis has been to conduct judicial needs assessments focused primarily on substantive law and procedure; particular skills of judging such as management of trials, caseloads and personnel; and judicial conduct and ethics. The need for education in the area of judicial temperament, disposition, attitudes, and values has received far less attention (Conner & White, 2005). A curriculum helps educators make decisions about what is to be taught and when it should be taught, and the relationship between subjects. Hudzik (1991) argued that
there is a need to consider a career-development curriculum in continuing judicial education. Such an approach should address educational needs in both the cognitive and affective domains with attention given to learning outcomes and the means of reaching them. It should also address the career-long needs of judges as they arise, rather than simply trusting to a comprehensive initial training program. Promoting Interaction through Education The analysis of the interviews with Judge Jones suggest that judicial education can provide an important opportunity for interaction among judges which can ease the sense of isolation. Judicial educators should consider this part of the central mission of judicial education. The opportunity for judges to engage in discussions about difficult matters, totally off the record, can build collegiality as well as strengthen judicial performance. Judicial educators should consider this goal in the design of educational programs and conferences. Too often, conferences are packed with competing interests ranging from education, business meetings, committee meetings, politics, and social outings. Consideration should be given to balancing the schedule with opportunities for social networking and meeting new judges. In surveys of judicial education programs which provide structured opportunities for this type of interaction, the exchange of views with colleagues and peers is consistently rated the most valuable aspect of the program (Utter, 1996). The research on judgesâ€˜ reasons for attending judicial education indicates a strong need for interaction with other judges and the mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts as well as the need for collegiality and social networking (Armatage, 2004). Utter (1996)
observed that ―This need for collegial interaction goes well beyond simply the social benefits of gathering together which is often expressed in the standard cliché ―I learned more at the cocktail hour than during the program‖ (p. 6). Providing opportunities for interaction among colleagues should be part of the conscious design of the formal program. Mentoring Mentoring has been identified as an important strategy for dealing with judicial stress (District Court, Committee on Stress Management, 1996). Mentoring programs can provide new judges with much needed social support and guidance. Mentoring programs provide new judges with a fellow judge who is available to assist in the transition process by educating the new judge about the nature of court activities and the work of judges, as well as traditions, values, norms, policies, and procedures that accompany the profession of judging (Conner & Anderson, 1997). Jacobi (1991) identified fifteen specific functions and benefits that a mentor offers in a mentoring relationship: (a) acceptance, support, and encouragement, (b) advice and guidance, (c) bypass bureaucracy and access to resources, (d) challenge and opportunity, (e) clarify values and goals, (f) coaching, (g) information, (h) protection, (i) role modeling, (j) social status, (k) socialization, (l) sponsorship, (m) stimulating the acquisition of knowledge, (n) training and instruction, and (o) visibility and exposure. Judicial educators should consider how to introduce mentoring programs into the new judge orientation. Orientation provides an opportune time for new judges to acquaint with their mentor and begin building a long-term relationship that will serve as a valuable
personal resource (Conner & Anderson, 1997). Introducing the mentor program during the orientation process also sets the expectation that mentoring is an important aspect of the judicial culture designed to strengthen the judiciary as a whole. Finally, mentoring provides an enriching and rewarding opportunity for experienced judges to give back to the profession. Teaching Coping Strategies and Promoting Wellness Previous research has established that those who perceive control over stressors experience less stress than those who do not perceive control (Bandura, 1992). Education programs designed to develop judgesâ€˜ coping skills and other stress reduction mechanisms should be integrated into the judicial education curriculum on an ongoing basis. Judge Jones shared the lessons he learned in handling State v. Ridgway with fellow judgesâ€˜ providing colleagueâ€˜s with an excellent opportunity to develop their anticipatory coping skills around high profile cases. In addition to the high profile case, a broader application of teaching anticipatory coping skills should address the emotional side of dealing with other types of cases that present high levels of stress, such as juvenile and family law cases. Professional Development for Judicial Educators The previous recommendations are directed primarily toward judicial educators. To be successful in addressing these recommendations, the professional education and development needs of judicial educators must be considered. According to Conner (1995), only 26 % of state judicial educators have a degree in education (K-12, adult, or continuing), while the most common degree is law (pp. 20-21). Judicial educators should have ample opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and abilities of adult
education principles and practices. Special attention should be given to applying those practices and principles to developing educational curriculum addressing issues in the affective domain (Goleman, 1995; Kegan, 1994). Implications for Future Research Resiliency research clearly provides a new paradigm for studying the prevention of judicial stress, and exploring the opportunities for developing protective processes through judicial education. It provides a powerful rationale for moving the narrow focus in the social and behavioral sciences from a risk, deficit, and pathology focus to an examination of the strengths judges possess in facing and adapting to occupational stressors (Maddi & Khoshaba, 2005). In the area of future research, three recommendations are proposed. Recommendation 1 Similar studies should be undertaken to include new and experienced judges, administrative law judges, military court judges, federal court judges, appellate judges and judges with special assignments such as juvenile and family court judges. Studies should be tailored to examine other aspects of stress, strain and protective processes in the judiciary. Increasing the number of participants would allow for a more robust evaluation and analysis. Recommendation 2 Research should be devised to ascertain which competencies in the affective domain are critical for highly effective judging. Such research has implications beyond judicial education. Judicial selection determines the standards of entry into the judiciary
and defines the threshold of judicial competence (Greenstein, 1984). While the selection of judges is of critical importance in the administration of justice it was not within the scope of this study to discuss this aspect in greater detail. Additional research on judicial temperament and resiliency may benefit the advancement of judicial selection criteria. Recommendation 3 Research should be devised to evaluate the quality of training in the various domains of judicial education as measured by participant self-report both immediate and follow-up. There is also a need to develop ways to measure the value and impact of judicial education on judicial capacity, wellness, and career satisfaction.
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Appendix A Consent To Participate In Research
SEATTLE UNIVERSITY 901 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH TITLE:
Essential Characteristics of an Highly Resilient Judge: A Case Study of the Honorable Richard Jones
Charles A. Ericksen 63 Sudden Valley Bellingham, Washington 98229 360-393-1779
Dr. Carol Weaver College of Education 206-296-5696
SOURCE OF SUPPORT:
This study is being performed as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Seattle University.
You are being asked to participate in a research project that seeks to investigate judicial resiliency through the personal experiences and perspectives of an experienced judge. The skills, traits, attributes exhibited by you over your career and in particular through the experience of a high profile case will be analyzed.
RISKS AND BENEFITS:
Participation in this research is strictly voluntary. It is hoped that these findings will contribute to an understanding of the importance of resilient attributes in the judicial work setting. Recall of difficult cases may provoke emotional stress. While questions may stimulate recall of disturbing incidents during your career, you may choose not to disclose any information related to these incidents. The questions will be sent to you in advance, allowing ample time to reflect on the questions and determine not to answer them or how to answer them if you choose to do so.
Participation in the project will require no monetary cost to you. An envelope is provided for return of your response to the investigator.
Compiled and analyzed data will be used in the dissertation manuscript and/or any other future publication dealing with this subject matter. This may include, but is not limited to, journal articles, written reports, books, educational publications, video and/or audio representations of the research material, broadcast or print interviews with the research investigator, and speeches. It is the intention of the researcher to publish this dissertation after completion of the Doctoral program.
RIGHT TO WITHDRAW:
You are under no obligation to participate in this study. You are free to withdraw your consent to participate at any time without penalty. Your withdrawal will not influence any other services to which you may be otherwise entitled.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS:
A summary of the results of this research will be supplied to you, at no cost, upon request.
I have read the above statements and understand what is being asked of me. I also understand that my participation is voluntary and that I am free to withdraw my consent at any time, for any reason, without penalty. On these terms, I certify that I am willing to participate in this research project. I understand that should I have any concerns about my participation in this study, I may call the investigator who is asking me to participate at Chuck Ericksen â€” 360.393.1779. If I have any concerns that my rights are being violated, I may contact Carol Weaver or Dr. Barbara Anderson, chair of the Seattle University Institutional Review Board (206) 296-6161.
____________________________ Participant's Signature
_____________________________ Investigator's Signature
Appendix B Interview Questions
161 Interview Questions
Interview #1: Identity and Development 1. What are the major turning points in defining who you are? 2. What role has failure, setbacks or life challenges played in your life? 3. Why did you become a judge? 4. What are your first memories of being a judge? 5. How would you describe yourself as a judge? 6. What were the major transitions in your judicial career? 7. How has your judicial style changed? 8. How would you describe yourself as a leader? 9. What role has judicial education played in your judicial career?
Interview #2: Crucibles 1. What are the major crucibles (events) that have defined your judicial career? 2. What do you remember of the Ridgway case? What happened in your courtroom? 3. What was most difficult about handling the Ridgway case? 4. How did your routine change as a result of the Ridgway case? 5. At what point did you feel you were back to a normal routine? 6. How supportive to you personally did you find your colleagues throughout the course of the trial? Why do you feel that way? How did it affect you?
7. Are there ways you think the Ridgway case has affected your life? Your work as a judge? 8. Have you changed in the way you manage your distress or cope with problems? 9. Has there been any change in what you feel, how intensely you feel things, or your ability to deal with difficult feelings as a result of the Ridgway case? 10. Looking back, has your understanding of these experiences changed over time? How?
Interview #3: Stress and Protective Processes 1. From where do you draw your strength or resilience? 2. What kinds of beliefs or values help you cope with stress? In what ways? 3. What kinds of activities help you cope with stress? In what ways? 4. Which of your relationships help you cope with stress? In what ways? 5. What psychological traits influence your capacity to maintain and regain emotional well-being in the face of stress? 6. Do you feel your work and non-work life is in balance?
Appendix C Index Tree Display of Categories as Organized in NVivo
Index Tree Display of Categories as Organized in NVivo
FINDINGS CORE CATEGORIES
Becoming a Lawyer
Becoming a Judge
Judicial Qualifications & Characteristics:
Communication Skills Sensitivity Emotional Intelligence Social Intelligence Decision Making Leadership