Compared to their colleagues in the trial court, appellate judges have a reputation for being delicate, academic creatures, with less in the way of “street smarts.” But don’t lump New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Ira Robinson in that group.
From the Albuquerque Journal (subscription):
New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge Ira Robinson expected the worst Tuesday night when he fell to the ground as he tried to fight off a man lunging at him with a knife.
“I really thought the son of a gun was gonna stab me when I was down,” he said.
So how did it all unfold?
Robinson, 65, said in an interview Wednesday that the ski-mask-wearing assailant demanded valuables from him and two cousins visiting from San Diego as they walked to their car parked near La Fonda about 10 p.m.
But Robinson refused the robber’s demands:
“He said ‘Give me your money, (expletive)!’ I said, ‘I’m not gonna give you a damn thing!”’
Nice. But we do wish the judge had invoked his judicial office. Maybe he could have held his assailant in contempt?
A little more, after the jump.
Judge Robinson doesn’t sound like your typical judge, at least based on the company he keeps — noscitur a sociis. Most judges hang out with, well, other judges (or lawyers). He hangs out with Deadheads (although, to be sure, they are his relatives):
The mugging took place after Robinson had finished dinner at La Fonda’s restaurant with his cousins– Deborah Troy and writer Sandy Troy, who has written biographies of the Grateful Dead.
Robinson and the Troys were walking toward the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis on East San Francisco after dinner when the robber came up from behind and showed his knife, which had a blade of at least 4 inches, the judge said.
After Robinson rejected the robber’s demands, the man lunged, swinging at Robinson with the knife, the judge said.
Robinson fought with the robber, swinging right back.
“I was trying to grab at the knife,” he said.
Another lunge caused the judge to fall to the street, landing on his shoulder.
“The only time I was really scared was when I was down,” Robinson said.
Exciting stuff! We suspect that most judges would have just forked over the valuables (which, for the record, we believe is what most public safety experts recommend).
Sadly, Judge Robinson’s valor did not prevent theft or property damage:
[T]he robber then lunged toward Deborah Troy. As Sandy Troy pushed her out of harm’s way, Deborah’s purse fell to the ground. The man grabbed the purse and ran.
Aside from the purse and the credit cards and cash inside, nothing else was taken. But Robinson said that at some point during the scuffle, the man reached for Robinson’s wristwatch, shattering it to pieces in the process.
Nor was the judicial mugger apprehended:
Deputy Chief Benji Montaño said officers were unable to find the robber. But a credit card company reported to one of Robinson’s cousins that someone tried to use one of the stolen cards in Española about 45 minutes after the robbery.
Robinson was unable to provide much of a description of the mugger. He appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, his complexion was “medium-olive” and he was “really feisty,” the judge said.
A “really feisty” guy? It takes one to know one, Your Honor. Maybe it’s time to pack some heat underneath that robe? What are New Mexico’s laws about concealed weapons?
UPDATE: An ATL reader who is a New Mexico judge — yes, judges read this site, it’s very exciting! — has the answer:
In New Mexico, judges wishing to carry concealed weapons must be licensed to do so as must any NM citizen. This requires 15 hours of classroom training and qualifying with the weapon(s) to be carried.
Concealed weapons are generally forbidden to be carried in courthouses, though judges who wish to do so should have both a license and the permission of the chief judge of the courthouse to do so.
Judge Fights Off Mugger [Albuquerque Journal (subscription)]