Backlash after a case concludes, especially widely publicized cases, can be brutal and difficult to navigate. Often, the reactions to rulings and decisions – which take months or years to arrive at – are based on lack of knowledge surrounding the details of and reasons for the decisions of the case (found in the official written decision) and instead operate off of immediate emotional response.
Those watching the news or skimming news posts on their phones are not provided with the evidence as laid out in a court of law. When it is said that a defendant shows remorse, the public does not see the tears that are visible to those in a courtroom, while if it is said that a defendant lacks true remorse, only those in the courtroom see the eye rolls and the inappropriate facial expressions. Judges are those tasked with communicating the decisions of a case and their reasoning; the language does not convey emotion, it conveys fact.
Judges are given power, but the application of this power must generally fall in line with previous decisions and consider the specificity of the case at hand, and the specific offender. Judges should not make inconsistent decisions – if they do, their decisions can be subject to review by the court of appeal, which may overturn the decision.
When people take their frustration out over the outcome of a certain case, particularly aimed at the decisions reached by a judge, judges are not able to respond. Why? Though some care about the public’s view of justice, they are actually prohibited from discussing the outcomes of their own cases.