“It can’t happen here?” Ask judges and their partners who have been through a recent high profile case, and they’ll say, “Yes, it can!” Such a case can come along when we least expect it. In some small towns, nearly every case can be a “high profile case.” In other settings media interest can draw national attention to both trial and appellate proceedings and to the involved judges and their families.
High profile cases become the only civics lesson some citizens may ever get. There is an opportunity for judges and judicial systems to educate the public about the merits of living under a rule of law in a free society. There’s a chance to break through the image of judicial isolation and help the public see the good-hearted servant leaders who serve as judges.
But the stresses and sheer time demands of handling a high profile case can shake judges, their households, and even extended family members. Personal privacy can be pierced. A judges’ concentration on the work at hand can be maximized when they and their family members are equipped to function well in spite of the pressures and changes they are experiencing.