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Hofstra Law Review

Article Title

Symposium Introduction

Abstract

In the American justice system, the judge controls the court. All the trappings of courtroom decorum underscore this power. The judge is usually placed front and center, often on a raised platform. Everyone present is expected to rise when the judge enters the room. The audience is required to be silent. Lawyers are expected to rise when speaking to judges, and to address them with an honorific. Wanton disrespect may result in disciplinary action or contempt proceedings. These protocols of honor and deference are emblematic of the judge’s supreme authority and power to control what happens in the court proceedings. Thus, when considering the justice crisis that afflicts the criminal courts in the United States, two unavoidable questions must be confronted. First, to what extent has judicial use or abdication of this authority contributed to the crisis? Second, how can the prudent exercise of judicial authority alleviate the pervasive injustice in the nation’s lower courts?

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