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Lawyers warned against extortion

A newly inducted circuit judge has asked his colleagues to remind lawyers to take their responsibility seriously and not to use the court as a means to extort money from clients.

“A Human Rights defender Judge ought to remind lawyers having cases before him/her to take seriously their responsibility in representing the legal interest of their clients and not to use the Court as a means to extort money from clients,” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie warned.

The Judiciary, on Friday, October 31 inducted Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie as resident Circuit Judge for Criminal Court ‘A’ in Montserrado County, filling a gap created after the death of the late Judge James W. Zotaa this year.

At Judge Willie’s commissioning ceremony during the weekend, Chief Justice Francis S. Kporkpor, Sr. had earlier warned that the task of a judge was a serious job; especially pointing to judge’s firmness in deciding their fellow man’s fate, including life sentences or even judging in property cases, among others.

Judge Willie, whose new appointment as circuit judge came as an elevation from serving as a magistrate here, was urged by the Liberian Chief Justice to serve impartially and live above reproach.

Speaking at the Judiciary’s Resource Center at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, Chief Justice Korkpor admonished Judge Willie that “nobody will tell you what to do as a judge,” reminding him that even the Supreme Court or the other branches of government will not tell him how to decide a case.

Instead, Chief Justice Korkpor noted that the Supreme Court only reviews what the lower courts do, and correct what they did not do rightly. The Chief Justice showered praises on the newly inducted judge, considering his past work as one of the good performing magistrates and instructors at the Judicial Institute, among others.

In his induction speech, Judge Willie said it is incumbent upon judges as critical elements of the justice system to ensure that justice prevails, irrespective of political, religious or economic status of party litigants appearing in court.

“Further, a Human Rights defender Judge will take [cognizance] of laws such as those quoted under Fundamental Rights of our Constitution and statues such as 18.1 and 18.2 of the Criminal Procedure Law,” he said.

Speaking on the topic, “the Judge as Defender of Human Rights,” Judge Willie pledged to serve in his new capacity with honesty and selflessness without fear or favor, and vowed to be a true defendant of human rights in court.

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