September 26, 1887: Letter to C.W. Ashford – Attorney General
Below is a letter from J.M. Lydgate to C.W. Ashford, Attorney General, issuing a complaint about a local judge. This particular letter is of interest because it provides, in painful detail, varying types of misconduct, ineptitude and overall incompetency. One particular statement Lydgate makes is quite memorable. In the letter, he references the judge’s propensity for tardiness “in opening court” which results in a “serious inconvenience to those who have something more to do than hang round coffee shops.”
Some excerpts and transcriptions are provided below.
Laupahoehoe Sept 26th 1887
His. Exc. C.W. Ashford
We are sorely afflicted here with an unsuitable local judge. He was appointed I suppose for the little influence he had over a few votes, and a good deal of shouting on election day two years ago.
One or two samples of his deeds may give you an idea of what he is . . . .
Were he disposed to do the right thing he would make at best but a very imperfect judge. His mind is more sluggish than the lapse of ages, his knowledge of law and legal methods is infinitesimal and is not complemented by common sense. He seeks and receives advice during the case in open court from loafers there assembled. He writes only with difficulty and with the most painful slowness and protracts a case to most tedious length without arriving at any adequately weighty conclusion. He postpones cases on the most trivial pretexts and is extremely tardy in opening court which is a serious inconvenience to those who have something more to do than hang round coffee shops.
At his best he is not and never will be a good judge, but the most serious charge . . . .