Judge Isaac Pyatt
Judge Pyatt has been on the bench for almost 20 years now. Before that, he was in law enforcement for almost 15 years. I really enjoyed this sit-down with him and even learned something from it.
I had been told many times, if you want to serve as Magistrate, you need to be elected yet, I never saw anyone’s name, let alone the position on any of the voter’s ballots. Someone who’s never voted probably told me that. However it left me wondering, how does the common citizen learn enough about the law to be able to rule accurately enough in order to be a Magistrate judge?
“We’re appointed to the bench,” Judge Pyatt answered.
“Does city council, the mayor, or someone like that appoint you?”
“In my case it was Huey Walker who approached me and then made nomination on my behalf,” he answered (Huey Walker was Pyatt’s predecessor).
We talked a little about his personal life; he’s married to Comeletia Pyatt; an educator and has three grown children - two boys, one daughter. His eyes lit up with pride as he talked about his wife and his children, all of whom are very successful in their lives.
Personally, I’ve had to go before Judge Pyatt before. I realized he’s a pretty fair judge during that time. I may not have liked his ruling, but he was fair and impartial and that was good enough for me. “Sometimes people just want to be heard,” Judge Pyatt expressed about many of his cases.
Looking back, I understood what he was talking about. “I know what you mean,” I said. “When I was in your court once before, I remember the people where carrying on and I knew it was such a crock but I didn’t say anything because, what you said is true. It didn’t matter what they were saying, they just wanted to be heard.”
I asked about any funny stories he could share but I believe he felt uncomfortable with that because Judge Pyatt does take his bench seriously. “I would hate for someone to read this and think I were making fun of them. The law isn’t a joke even though I know some situations happen beyond our control and can seem humorous when they occur. However, I do try to treat each person’s case respectfully.”
When asked if he’d ever found a situation where he had to recuse himself he thought for a moment and then said, “There was one case where a young man had bought a pair of ladies’ shoes. He liked to dress up in women’s things. He had a dispute with the merchant who sold him the shoes and I remember thinking to myself why would he want ladies’ shoes? And I ruled against him because of my personal feelings.”
“What did you do about it?” I asked as a follow up.
“Well, I sent my clerk of courts after him and told him I felt I ruled against him unfairly. I gave him a new court date and then I recused myself from the case so he could have a fair and impartial trial.”
Georgetown is lucky to have Judge Pyatt. He enjoys his work, he’s thorough and dedicated. He presides over civil cases and a few criminal cases with a strong sturdy gavel.