By Patricia Lilliston
On the third Wednesday of each month, Mountain View Municipal Court convenes with the Honorable Mark C. Pautler presiding. After ruling on a full docket on the morning of Dec. 20, Pautler struck his gavel, adjourned the court, and then eased from the case files into sharing the particulars of his career, the challenges regarding his position, and advice with respect to courtroom protocol.
Once a member of the clergy in St. Louis, Mo., Pautler relocated to Denver to accept a position at Regis University. Now his resume spans 30 years and includes experience as a correctional officer, teacher and grant administrator.
Pautler was appointed the presiding judge for the town of Mountain View in February 2013. He has served as the President of the First Judicial District Bar Association, been a member on the Colorado Municipal Judges Board of Directors, and actively involved in various civic and governmental organizations.
“As a judge, my greatest challenge is to make certain that each defendant has been advised correctly and understands fully their rights,” asserted Pautler. Pautler then referred to an Advisement of Rights document which lists 15 rights that he reviews with defendants. Pautler stated, “I want all who leave my court to feel that their case has been heard and considered fairly, and that they have been treated with respect.”
Circumstances vary as to the reason or as to the role an individual experiences in the courtroom. Whether a defendant, summons as a witness or called to court for jury duty, Pautler recommends, “People coming to court, should understand that the environment is potentially an adversarial setting.”
As a defendant, Pautler suggests, “The individual should be prompt, listen to all aspects of advisement, exhibit respect and ultimately take responsibility.”
He continues, “Witnesses should know that their appearance in court is not about them. Rather, the lawyers on both sides, prompt questions to gather information to support their case. Witnesses should listen and base their response simply on the context of the question.”
When citizens are requested for jury duty, Pautler advises, “Be forthright in answering the initial jury pool questions. If selected as a juror, be prompt to court, and keep an open mind to both sides of the case.”
Although approximately 95 percent of the people he encounters during the monthly municipal court session are nonresidents, Pautler concludes, “Mountain View is a nice community with professional police officers and efficient court personnel. I enjoy working here.”
Anyone can attend, observe and learn more about the judicial system by coming into the Town Hall at 4671 Benton St., for the monthly Municipal Court session. For additional information or court schedule, visit the Mountain View town website, http://mtvgov.org.
Why the Black Robe?
Upon entering a courtroom, most identify the judge as the individual wearing the long black robe. This traditional attire for the women and men who preside over criminal and civil cases began approximately 700 years ago in England.
English judges traditionally wore robes of various colors. Violet was the standard for the summer robe, while green robes were favored in winter. Scarlet robes were worn for special occasions. Although open to question, historians theorize that the adaptation of wearing mainly black robes began during the mourning period for an English monarch.
When judges in the American colonies presided over criminal and civil cases they tended to follow the English tradition of wearing robes and wigs After the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams argued as to how judges should dress in the courtroom.
Jefferson believed that judges should distance themselves from English tradition and wear only a suit during courtroom procedures. Adams disagreed and wanted judges to continue wearing robes and wigs similar to the English tradition. A compromise was reached with the decision prevailing that American judges would wear robes and not wigs.
Although to some, the common black robe represents governmental power and authority, the simplicity of the black robe can also symbolize the neutrality and humility of a judge. Retired Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor acknowledged that wearing the black robe is not only a matter of tradition, but a means to symbolize that judges in our country share a common responsibility to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
50 Book Challenge
With 2018 newly logged on the calendar, resolutions become personal commitments and often overwhelming challenges. Common goals loom from venturing into a new hobby, saving money, ingesting more nutritious food, and maintaining a regular workout regime.
With a visit to Mountain View’s Little Free Library, all of these common intentions can become accomplishments. On Jan. 12, the 50 Book Challenge launched at the Lady Bug Library. Acceptance of the challenge offers the hobby of reading, saves funds as one takes a book and returns a book. Additionally, reading supplies food for thought, and provides substantial exercise for the brain. That’s four resolutions achieved with the acceptance of one challenge.
Are you ready for the challenge? Resolve to stop by the Little Free Library on the North side of the Town Hall at 4176 Benton St. Pick up a 50 Book Challenge checklist and choose your next best title.