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We read with great interest the opinion piece in last week's paper regarding Family Court Judge John David Myles (“Judging a judge,” My Word, Feb. 12). The portrayal of Judge Myles could not be further from our experience with him and his court.
Judge Myles was always prepared, professional and fair to all who appeared before him. He is a passionate advocate for children, education and families. Add to that a loyal friend, devoted husband and hard worker.
Above all, Judge John David Myles is a man of unwavering moral character and commitment to fairness for all, not only in his courtroom, but in his daily living.
Judges in any court must hear all sides of a case and maintain fairness for all parties involved. The same applies in Family Court. However, when you are dealing with a child in crisis, a custody matter or the dissolution of a marriage, intense emotions can weigh heavily on a courtroom. It is easy, even for a judge, to occasionally get caught up in the emotion.
Some 1,400 cases are filed in Judge Myles’ court every year. It is a rare day when only half of those appearing are disappointed with the decision of the court – some extremely so. Given the nature of the cases, that will always be the fact.
None of us as parents want others making decisions that affect our children and their well-being. However, when we as adults make choices that affect our children, it may well be that someone else has to be involved. And in this day and age, when parents cannot make these decisions with maturity and civility, possibly through no fault of their own, Family Court becomes an avenue for mediation.
Readers should understand that judges are not supposed to speak to litigants outside the court or without the presence of the opposing side. They are not supposed to receive correspondence from one side in a case that has not been filed in the court record and served on the opposing side.
As for Judge Myles' record, all his civil cases are matters of public record available at the circuit clerk's office, and the very few of his cases that have been appealed are public record at the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. Of those which have been appealed, nearly all have been affirmed.
We should review Judge Myles' record. Anyone who does will agree with us that John David Myles should be re-elected as Family Court judge.
Kathy Howser Nichols is a retired Shelby County circuit clerk, and her husband, Willie, is a Shelby County court security officer.