The good, the bad and the ugly
Ask Judge Smith:
By Judge Layne Smith
Special to the Outlook
My title doesn’t concern the punchline of a joke promoting Seminole athletics, or a review of the Clint Eastwood western with the awesome theme song. Instead, my focus is on the human condition and hope.
As your county judge, I’m responsible for independently reviewing the factual basis for arrests, searches and seizures.
Frankly, you wouldn’t believe what I read and hear on a daily basis — ranging from the comic to the tragic. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and television is filled with crime shows because the material writes itself. Regardless, everyone deserves due process of law and an equal application of the rule of law.
Now, let’s discuss the good, the bad and the ugly.
The good function as the glue that holds society together by being fair, honest, kind, decent and reliable. They care for others’ welfare.
The bad cause intentional wrongs, have lapses of judgment and are less reliable. “Bad” doesn’t have to be a permanent condition and our nation is the land of opportunity and second chances.
The ugly commit premeditated murders, torture, rapes and other horrific crimes without regard to the misery and harm they cause.
Now for the call to action. The good are needed now more than ever. Hurricane Michael devastated a 70-mile swath of the Florida Panhandle. Its victims include friends, neighbors, kids, old folks and the poor. These vulnerable souls are in desperate need of immediate help and it will require the kindness of strangers to help them survive and recover.
Happily, many first responders, people, charities and organizations are working hard to make a meaningful difference. Let’s thank them, provide encouragement and help the helpers.
As generous and compassionate people, the good also need to be the helpers. For example, The William H. Stafford American Inn of Court has over 100 members from the local legal community. Each member has agreed to provide at least 10 hours of community service work for hurricane victims, including their pets.
This alone will result in more than 1,000 hours of help for those in need.
I close with this observation. People are suffering and in need of hope. Let’s respond with kindness and heed President Lincoln’s words by having “charity for all.”
J. Layne Smith is a Leon County Judge who often speaks and writes about civics, law and the administration of justice. Email your questions about civics or law to firstname.lastname@example.org