I (a reader suggested that I stop using the royal we) attended the federal judicial conference at the Samoset last week. The topic du jour was social media, so that was the new. The conference closed with observations from two district court judges, Judges Hornby and Singal, who have been on the bench for many years, and recounted stories and all the changes they have seen, which was the old.
On the latter front, the changes they noted, aside from the upside of new technology, seemed mostly heading in a negative direction. With fewer trials, especially jury trials, and more security, court houses, they noted, have become silent and cut off from the public. In the past, these were important public gathering places; for example, there used to be retired folks who would come to watch trials every day. With motion days gone, trials few and far between, and security worries, except for life’s rich pageant that is the Maine State District Court