The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sensitivity training for judges

FOSTER –– On a dark night, armed with a flashlight and some fresh state police training, federal Judge William Smith approached the suspect car from its passenger side.

Headlights from a state police cruiser illuminated the back of the white sedan but tinted windows made it hard to see inside. Someone squirmed in the backseat. He waved something at the judge –– a cell phone? –– who reflexively flinched.

“License and registration, please,” the judge ordered. “Put your hands out of the car, please.”

The men inside, three members of the state police brass it turned out, played convincing roles. They started shouting and ignored Smith’s repeated orders. … Now what?

“It’s very uncomfortable,” Smith admitted to the clutch of invited guests watching the scenario unfold from the shadows a few feet away, “even though it’s all pretend.”


The federal judge referred to is my younger brother. I'm sorry now for all the mean things I did to him growing up. This is about a course he is taking to give him some idea what it is like to experience law enforcement from the enforcement end. H/t WS. --TS

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