Sit up straight. Articulate more.
The remonstrations are more suited to an etiquette class than a courtroom.
"I'm not going to be telling you how to do it in the future," veteran County Judge Eugene Turner told prosecutors and their witnesses in court earlier this week, almost two months to the day he will step down as the longest standing county judge.
In a few hours of hearings on a weekday morning, Turner alternated between making the courtroom chuckle and snap to attention, just 36 hours after learning of his defeat in a runoff election Tuesday that ended his nearly 30-year term as a county judge.
He is, by all accounts, an institution at the Collier County courthouse, known as a mentor and administrator who created programs to rehabilitate small-time offenders and make the court system more efficient. Assistants tear up and longtime colleagues get nostalgic discussing the veteran judge.
"He really, really tries hard to make us all better, and to make the system fairer, kinder," said County Judge Mike Carr, who referred to the senior judge he first met as a rookie prosecutor in the late 1980s as a "force of good."
"A lot of times he can counsel me on how to do things so I don't offend people," Carr said. "He's taught generations of judges how to do things right."
Turner, 68, rose to the bench by gubernatorial appointment in 1983 following years as a Collier prosecutor, then a defense attorney.
He won subsequent re-election until this week, when he lost the bid for six more years on the bench to now Judge-elect Jim McGarity.
As the senior county judge, Turner oversaw the transition of the system from his early days when fingerprinting was non-existent in Collier, and the assignment of cases to judges haphazard. Ever the fan of the simplest solution, Turner implemented a straightforward system – the division of misdemeanor and small claims cases judges oversee by defendants' last names.
He ended up with the beginning and the end: A. B, and W, X, Y, and Z.
"...At our level – the people's court – it's not glamorous," said County Judge Vince Murphy, who will now be the most senior of the six Collier County judges. "DUI case after DUI case, after marijuana possession, things that after a while see unimportant."
"County court is different from circuit court, which is why I like it," Turner elaborated. At the felony level handled by circuit judges, "you never really have a relationship with the defendant, you have communication with you and the attorney."
In court this week, Turner told a police officer who took the stand as a state's witness to stop slouching and speak up, then prodded a rookie prosecutor into the right choice of objection to the defense, spiking the hearing with quick jokes to lighten the mood.
"We generally get the new attorneys, who are just beginning their careers, and it's so important that they get off on the right foot … so that they understand their role in the process," Murphy explained.
Courthouse veterans point to Turner's work giving defendants more options than fines or jail time as the triumph of his nearly three decades on the bench.
The Weekend Work program he pushed after seeing one in North Carolina allows non-serious offenders to do their time with service, usually cleaning up the community, while at the same time not losing their job.
Turner pointed to his schoolteacher mother as the inspiration for more elaborate probation arrangements that give the court better control over enforcing sentences.
Her technique of visiting her students' homes early in the school year to better understand the context of their behavior led the judge to promote spontaneous home visits by Collier probation officers.
"When she would go back to the classroom, she had a total awareness or better awareness of the environment that the child was coming from … (and) a different awareness of how to deal with that child," Turner explained.
Outside of court, Turner sat on state judicial committee and the boards of local organizations, including president of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida and President of the North Naples Rotary Club.
"I wasn't in all these clubs and organizations because of being a lawyer," Turner said. "I was in those … because I loved the community. My father did it. My mother did it. I didn't know anything else but to participate in the community and understand the community and give back."
McGarity's win with 55 percent of the vote comes as Turner made his last possible bid for re-election; the Florida Constitution forces judges to retire at 70.
It was the first time since he was appointed to the county judgeship in 1983 that Collier voters didn't re-elect him.
"What a loss of resources we have when we push out perfectly capable people with decades of experience just because they had a birthday," Murphy said, referring to Turner's forced retirement, which will go into effect in early January.
Unless an amendment to the Florida Constitution extends the obligatory retirement age for judges, in six years, the three judges elected in 2012 — Murphy (who ran unopposed), Carr, and McGarity — will not be able to run again, given their ages.
Turner has no plans yet for his post-courthouse life.
"I had a lot left in me that I was really looking forward to," he said. "But we have a good judiciary. These guys and women are going to make things click. They are very, very good. They will pick up and run with it."