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Justice Strauss was a high court judge who lives next to Count Olaf's house. The Baudelaires take a liking to her as soon as they meet, and she soon lets them use her library to learn how to cook puttanesca sauce. Her library also comes in handy in the foiling of Count Olaf's plot to get the Baudelaire fortune. At the mock wedding that Count Olaf sets up, she plays the judge and almost marries Violet to the Count (Violet prevents this). At the end of the book, Strauss offers to look after the Baudelaires, but this is not possible due to legal obligations on the part of Mr. Poe.
It is not clear whether Strauss is a member of V.F.D. or not. It is possible, due to the fact that she has a large library, and one of the V.F.D. official disguises is a "Judge Disguise." However, her behavior indicates that she had no prior involvement with the organization.
She has been researching the Baudelaire case and attempts to bring Count Olaf to justice. Her two fellow High Court judges turn out to be Olaf's associates, the man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard. Olaf kidnaps Justice Strauss and threatens to harm her unless the Baudelaires open the Vernacularly Fastened Door leading to the laundry room of the Hotel Denouement. She also mentions that when she was about Esmé Squalor's age, she had been a horse thief for years before realizing it was the wrong thing to do.
Klaus opens the door, but the sugar bowl Olaf is looking for is not inside, and Olaf ascends to the roof to escape after setting fire to the hotel. Justice Strauss attempts to prevent the escape of Count Olaf, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, but Sunny bites her hand so that she lets go of the boat they are escaping in. Snicket states that the children never see her again, as she died when she fell from the roof of Hotel Denouncment.