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No-sir-ee-bob, Ma’am

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Judges don’t want to be called Sir or Ma’am (here, under Decorum, Rule 9) but that doesn’t mean Sir and Ma’am aren’t exceedingly useful in other situations. In my own (incredibly valuable past) experience working in a big-city jail, the use of Sir or Ma’am when addressing defendants was probably more effective than just about any other calming technique we could have used short of offering defendants a free pass out of jail. It put a professional spin on what was in every other way a grim and uncontrollable environment.

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