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HomeNewsArchivesLAWYER: JUDGE'S NON-REAPPOINTMENT NOT POLITICS

LAWYER: JUDGE'S NON-REAPPOINTMENT NOT POLITICS

Dear Source,
I read your editorial on Judge [Thomas K.] Moore (see "Politics appears to rule over performance"), and it is so inaccurate I have to respond.
The failure of Judge Tom Moore to be recommended for reappointment has much less to do with politics and more to do with the allegations of inappropriate behavior while he was on the bench.
First of all, the supposedly "very favorable recommendation" from the bar was anything but that. Of the over 450 bar members, less then 25 percent even bothered to return the questionnaires. Many in the bar, despite the poll being the second attempt to poll the members, still did not receive questionnaires. Of those who did, many were afraid to send them in, fearing retribution from Judge Moore. Further, the V.I. Bar Association, unfortunately, has lost touch with the attorneys. It rarely can obtain a quorum to do business, and the last meeting on St. Croix was attended by less then 15 attorneys.
Secondly, Judge Moore's problems lie in the allegations of inappropriate behavior while he was on the bench. These include, but are not limited to, repeatedly being reversed by the Third Circuit [Court of Appeals], repeated disagreements with the judges of the Third Circuit, rude behavior toward attorneys practicing before him, including, but not limited to, refusing to grant a trial continuance to a seven months pregnant attorney despite a medical necessity; ordering attorneys to be in his court despite the fact that they were also supposed to be before the Third Circuit at the same time; complaints by jurors that they were coerced and harassed and subjected to ex parte instructions and conversations by Judge Moore while in jury deliberations; jurors complaints of being castigated after reaching a verdict because it was contrary to what Judge Moore would have decided; keeping the court house open late to accommodate the filing of a petition to keep poor housing out of a neighborhood that Judge Moore lived in, and then granting the motion despite a conflict that required recusal; repeatedly imposing sanctions without notice and a proper ability to respond; [and] being vindictive against litigants who took a position contrary to his.
I have been actively involved in the reappointment issue. I can assure you that the opposition to Judge Moore's reappointment is not limited to Holland Redfield. As a St. Thomas attorney expressed to me, I wouldn't be so against him if he did not get such perverse pleasure at sentencing young Virgin Islanders — "It is like watching him pull the wings off a fly."
The movement not to reappoint Judge Moore is far broader than just Holland Redfield and cuts across policitical lines and is widespread in the Virgin Islands bar. There is a consensus that he does not have the judicial temperament needed for the position.
Lee J. Rohn, attorney
St. Croix

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