LaDoris Hazzard Cordell joined New Day NW to talk about the critical role trial court judges play in our lives. #newdaynw
Judges don’t just play a critical role in the courtroom, they make decisions that impact every part of our lives. There are 30,000 state trial court judges who hear 80 million new cases every year on matters ranging from whether the word ‘love’ can appear in a wedding ceremony to giving life sentences for criminal acts, and even undoing adoptions. Yet there is much people don’t know about the legal experts in black robes, many of whom are elected from the ballot, whose critical decisions impact millions of people’s lives.
Former judge and author, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, J.D., joined New Day NW to discuss her experience as a judge, the critical impact of legal minds, and the surprising reason she went into law, which is explored in her new book, “Her Honor.”
In “Her Honor,” Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts.
Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible.
“Her Honor” is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved.
Cordell’s candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat―as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills―some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling.
“Her Honor” is for anyone who’s had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is a book for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.
Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.
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