Mallery’s removal from office doesn’t change my opinion of the man

The Commission of Judicial Performance removed Tony Mallery from his position as a Lassen County Superior Court Judge last week.

Obviously, issues arose during his tenure — some even before he took the ceremonial oath of office. More troubling, the commission determined Mallery lacks “the essential qualification of honesty required of a  judge.”

I believe in the rule of law and our legal system. I accept the commission’s decision. I don’t have more comment than that to offer on that part of this story. None of it is my call. Besides, justice apparently has been served, and Mallery’s removal from office settles that score.

But I do have something important I’d like to share with you.

One of the things I’ve learned in my years as a journalist is the stories I write are not about one-dimensional, cardboard, cutout characters easily classified as good or evil without as much as a second thought. Instead, they are living, breathing, sentient human beings just like you and me — full of flaws, covered in warts and supremely capable of error. In fact, it’s often their fallibility that creates the story.

I can never escape that realization, and I understand those who judge so quickly and so harshly while professing their perfection also have fallen far short of that standard even though they may not realize it. My evangelical grandmother always told me there has only been one perfect person in this world of ours whose example we should follow even though we can never attain His perfection. It’s a journey, not a destination.

I was talking with a friend at a community event a few months back. I saw Mallery and told my friend I was going over to say hello. My friend said he didn’t want to seen talking to that guy. Fair enough. That’s not my call either.

I know of many contributions Mallery has made to our community. And I have a friend to whom Mallery has repeatedly shown consideration for no reason beyond all those acts of compassion themselves.

I have always enjoyed my encounters with Mallery, and I’ve found him to be interesting, intelligent and engaging.

All this mess with the court aside, when I run into Mallery somewhere, I will always extend my hand and greet him with a smile and my very best wishes. I hope you will, too. When I see Mallery, I don’t see a wicked monster. I see a fellow human being just like me.

I pray I will never fall so far I rejoice and celebrate anyone’s misfortune. In the end, I am willing to accept and acknowledge Mallery’s inclusion in our human race.