Gotta love an elected judiciary. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
A Shreveport judge’s excessive use of prescription drugs led her to disgrace the judiciary by missing work, falling asleep on the bench, and at times talking gibberish to convicts, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled in a 7-0 decision that permanently removed her from office.
LaLeshia Walker Alford, first elected to the Shreveport City Court in 1997, was removed from the Caddo Parish bench and ordered to reimburse the state $5,000 for the cost of the investigation that began six years ago.
We especially appreciated the article’s deadpan subhead: “Absences, gibberish on bench recounted.”
So how did this all get started?
Alford, a Tulane Law School graduate who was re-elected in 2002, fell under state investigation after an anonymous complaint May 27, 2002, accused her of missing work regularly, canceling court without any notice, and presiding on the bench impaired, inarticulate, and at times nodding off. At one point, Alford threw a 15-year-old boy into an adult lock-up after fuming over his poor report card….
Dozing off on the bench? No big deal. One well-regarded federal judge has his clerks bring him a pitcher of ice cubes and a glass while he’s on the bench, so he can chew on ice to stay awake.
But napping on the bench is just the tip of the iceberg for Judge Walker Alford. Check out some excerpts of her judicial gibberish, after the jump.
With respect to tossing the juvenile in jail, Judge Alford “said she was trying to save the teen’s life and did not regret the action. The boy was later freed by another judge, who then drove him home.”
Losing litigants will often deride a judicial pronouncement as gobbledygook. In Judge Alford’s case, the epithet may apply in a more literal sense:
Alford often spoke in “word salads,” producing a string of unrelated words that make no sense, the court found.
At a court hearing, Alford ordered a defendant to write a report on why guns are dangerous in America, telling him, “And the possession of dry or dealing in what friends firearms I’m sorry quite obsolete. . .so disregard the possession case it is at a district okay.”
Although her judicial career has run aground, Walker Alford may have a promising future as a spambot.
Citing drug use, panel removes Shreveport judge [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Shreveport City Judge LaLeshia Alford Removed From Bench [KSLA]