Many parents in Ohio may not have heard that an appeals court has admonished a judge for pronouncing her personal opinions in court. The judge was presiding over a child custody case at the time. She ended up awarding custody of the couple's three children to the mother, and the father appealed.

Of course, judges have their own opinions on nearly every subject they may encounter while on the bench. However, judges are encouraged to set aside their own personal biases when deciding a case. Even if that bias is in line with current public opinion, it still does not have a place in the courtroom.

In its opinion, the appellate court agreed with this consensus. The panel of three judges upheld the lower court judge's decision, but was not pleased with her voicing her opinions from the bench. The court was particularly concerned that those opinions had to do directly with issues in the case.

One of the issues was that the mother of the children wanted custody, in part, to keep the children's father from teaching them a religious doctrine that requires wives to submit to their husbands. The other had to do with young children having cell phones. On both points, the judge expressed her opinion in open court. Her opinions were in line with the mother's opinions.

Many Ohio couples have ended up in court during their divorce proceedings on child custody matters. Having to rely on a judge to make decisions that could profoundly impact the family can be risky business at times. Judges are human and often do the best they can to make unbiased decisions; but sometimes it may be more difficult than others.

Source:, "Bible verse prompts appeal of Stearns County child custody case," Jeremy Olson, April 11, 2013