MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A Shelby County Probate Court judge is opening up about his controversial, and easy, summer schedule.
Probate Court is cancelled every afternoon from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The tradition began decades ago when the courthouse didn't have air conditioning.
Judge Robert Benham says while he doesn't hold court in the afternoons during the summer, that doesn't mean he's not working.
"You can't get into the flow and write opinions and meet with lawyers when you're walking in and out of the courtroom," he said.
Probate Court Judge Karen Webster had previously said of the summer schedule, "In the summertime, to be a little amicable to the judges' personal schedule, the courts will close down the afternoon courts."
So what does Judge Webster do in the afternoons?
"I do have a child that goes to school; it's out, so I am either transporting children or a child."
Truth is taxpayers are paying for Webster to hang out with her child during the summer.
As for judge benham, "I can't speak for her, I can only speak for myself. She's elected to a division, I'm elected to a division; I can only tell you what I do and what I do is work year round."
Probate Clerk Paul Boyd's take on this summer schedule is that "it frees them up to do a lot of things. I'm not sure what they are doing, that's what they do on the judicial side."
Truth is this summer schedule began decades ago and Benham admits it may be outdated, as nothing really changes in the summer compared to the whole year.
Truth is judges can call their own shots and do what they want. Of course, they are elected. Just like they can be voted into office, if taxpayers don't think they are working hard enough they can be voted out.