A disciplinary hearing for a suspended Nevada state judge has been postponed, after she reported she felt ill.
The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended the hearing in its fifth day after Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s lawyer said the diabetic judge experienced a hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, episode.
The hearing is due to resume next Thursday and Friday in Las Vegas.
Further Update: More from our Halverson-obsessed tipster, after the jump.
America’s favorite plus-size jurist, Judge Elizabeth Halverson, is back in the news. The disciplinary hearing to remove her from the bench — figuratively, not literally — got underway today.
Earlier this afternoon, from a Halverson-following reader:
CNN.com has live video stream of the Judge Halverson trial/hearing. I just started listening to it, so there hasn’t been anything real juicy yet. The first issue was Judge Halverson’s ability to use the restroom and the adequacy of the facilities at the hearing location.
And an update:
[So far] nothing that is new news. Her bailiff has been testifying about all the things he had to do for her. They are on a lunch breach until 4 PM Eastern time.
Ah, Judge Halverson’s lunch break. Expect the proceedings to resume around…. 8 PM?
In defense of Judge Halverson, is she getting a fair shake from the State Commission on Judicial Discipline? From the AP:
Nevada’s state judicial disciplinary panel is being asked to ban a suspended judge from calling witnesses or introducing evidence during hearings next week that could strip her of her elected position.
Suspended District Judge Elizabeth Halverson returned to the Regional Justice Center on Friday — for jury duty.
While waiting for an assignment, Halverson, who can’t roll through the courthouse on her motorized scooter without attracting attention, turned quite a few heads, including those of several prosecutors at the district attorney’s office, which is on the same floor as the jury service room.
Las Vegas lawyers: If you’re hoping to have Halverson on your jury, sorry. Her Honor wound up being assigned to a civil trial that was subsequently postponed, “bringing an abrupt halt to her brief public service on the other side of the bench.” Suspended judge can’t even get out of jury duty [Las Vegas Sun]
Judge Elizabeth Halverson has graced stomped through these pages many times before. But this is her first appearance of 2008. The LA Times recounts some Halverson highlights:
Her former bailiff said he was forced to heat and serve her lunch, check the temperature of her ice water, brush lint from her robe, help her put on her shoes, massage her neck and cover her with a blanket before her nap.
An assistant said Halverson, of the 8th Judicial District Court, made her answer questions — under oath — about courthouse gossip.
She’s been stripped of her criminal cases. She has been suspended with pay. She has a hearing this month that may result in her being removed from the bench. But she’s STILL running for reelection. We apologize to Halverson fans out there, but we will not be running a “Re-Elect Halverson” campaign, even if she does provide great blog fodder…
Halverson also referred to her husband as “Evil Ed,” her former bailiff testified, and told Jordan to “pull out your gun and shoot him.”
“I’ll dispose of the body,” Jordan quoted the judge as saying.
Halverson’s newer staffers told commissioners she acted respectfully and professionally. But commissioners said that didn’t excuse her treating Jordan and others in a “truly bizarre and inappropriate manner.”
Two people are challenging the suspended judge in the August election. Halverson said she entered the race because community members encouraged her to hold onto her judgeship.
“Do I think the public will see the truth about me?” she said. “Yes, I do.”
Obesity isn’t just a problem for Biglaw lawyers who don’t get to the gym enough. From the New York Post:
He weighs more than 500 pounds, but that wasn’t enough to tip the scales of justice for ex-cop Paul Soto.
The rotund retiree lost his legal argument that it was a line-of-duty fall outside a doctor’s office that cost him his NYPD career. A judge says it was actually his “morbid obesity.”
“There’s no dispute that [Soto] is physically incapable of performing his duties as a police officer. He is morbidly obese, suffers from narcolepsy and is hypertensive,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische wrote in her decision made public yesterday.
Apparently the physical vigor of being a cop doesn’t always keep off the pounds:
When Soto joined the force in 1993, Gische found, he weighed approximately 250 pounds. He is now 40, 5-foot-7 and over 500 pounds.
A former colleague at the 6th Precinct said Soto’s gun belt was an incredible 6 feet long, and his bosses would order him to take walks around the stationhouse for his own good. They would also have other officers shadow him to make sure he didn’t pick up food along the way, he said.
It’s a good thing Soto doesn’t work at a law firm, where office-wide emails about extra sandwiches left in conference rooms make the rounds daily. He’s Biiig Blue [New York Post via Drudge]
* Mandated calorie watching is struck down. [AP; New York Times]
* Mortgage lenders’ ads may violate FCC FTC rules. [MSNBC]
* Former Philippine prez gets 40-year prison sentence. [New York Times]
* China agrees to prohibit lead paint in children’s toys… [AP via MSNBC]
* Tennessee uses the chair for first time since 1960. [CNN]
Since the lastcoverage of her on ATL, the Energizer-bunny-esque Judge Elizabeth Halverson has been ordered on the inactive list by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.
Following an emotional plea by Halverson in a rare television interview, and a similar public plea by two sexy ex-Halverson staffers (a law clerk and a secretary), the hearing transcripts have been released by the Nevada Supreme Court.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a story this morning that basically places the final nail in the 425 500 lb jurist’s cavernous coffin career:
District Judge Elizabeth Halverson’s former bailiff testified that she fell asleep daily in court and frequently told him to shoot her husband, according to transcripts of a closed-door hearing that were made public Wednesday.
Yes, you read that right: “frequently told him to shoot her husband.”
(Dozing off on the bench is no big deal. Some highly regarded judges do it all the time.)
The balance of the insanity, after the jump.
It makes sense, as the recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine finds, that friends’ fatness would have an influence distinct from that of the culture as a whole….
In my own ingroup of 16 judges (11 active members of my court, 4 senior members, and 1 nominee, who will replace an active member who will be taking senior status), only 2 are overweight (12.5 percent), compared to a nationwide average of 66 percent. Among my other friends, judicial and otherwise, the percentage who are overweight is probably no greater than 12.5 percent.
When we read this, we guessed that one of the two overweight judges was Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. After all, a fondness for Arby’s Melts is not a recipe for thinness. But one ex-Seventh Circuit clerk we contacted disagreed:
Actually, Easterbrook has lost a lot of weight. I am not sure who [Posner] meant. Also query whether he used the rigorous BMI > 25 test.
Good point. Did Judge Posner run around the Dirksen Courthouse with a pair of body-fat calipers? Or did he just eyeball his colleagues in the robing room, to see who was sporting muffin tops?
To Seventh Circuit groupies: Which judges are packing a few extra pounds underneath their robes? Please enlighten us, in the comments. Thanks. Social Obesity — Posner’s Comment [The Becker-Posner Blog]
Jane Ann Morrison, columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, had a column yesterday that put quite a smackdown on two-time Judge of the Day Elizabeth Halverson (see her previous honors here and here). Along with some catty renditions of some of the facts we already knew (like the fact that Judge Halverson’s pre-judicial legal experience apparently consists of 9 years as a state court law clerk, getting FIRED from that job, losing her first election, and then somehow winning her second), Morrison provides some of the juicy details of the hefty judge’s outrageous behavior that led to her needing her own security force in the first place.
From the column:
Halverson spent nine years as a fairly lowly law clerk. (I always assumed the 425-pound woman, according to her driver’s license, stayed as long as she could for the county’s health insurance coverage.)
After she was fired, she ran for one judgeship, lost, but in 2006 won on her second try.
Before long, stories started coming out of the Regional Justice Center about her contemptuous behavior toward her staff, particularly her bailiff, Johnny Jordan. Halverson, who had never had real power, was relishing it, throwing a pencil on the floor and ordering him to pick it up. Jordan was ordered to give her foot rubs and back massages. He has since filed a complaint against his former boss alleging discrimination based on sex and race. He is black and says she treated him like a “house boy.”
Apparently the other judges in the courthouse felt the need for a judicial intervention with Halverson:
Court officials realized they were going to be slapped with multiple lawsuits alleging hostile work environment if no action was taken. Three judges were asked to help Halverson, Family Court Judge Art Ritchie and District Judges Stewart Bell and Sally Loehrer.
A memo details an April 6 meeting between Halverson and the three judges:
• She’s told it’s inappropriate to have staff rub her feet or her back. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff to stop that, that he’d become too familiar with her.
• She’s told she should not require staff to show up at 6:45 a.m. to wait for her arrival at 8 or 8:30 a.m. Her answer: She’d told the bailiff not to come early, but he wouldn’t listen.
• She’s told she should not have staff make her lunch. Answer: The bailiff wants to make her lunch.
• She’s told there are 20-25 orders missing. Answer: She’s shocked.
• She’s told it’s unethical to make statements showing bias against attorneys, particularly those who didn’t give to her campaign. Answer: Yes, she said it, but since nobody gave her money for her campaign, she’s not discriminating against anyone.
• She’s told the demeaning way she talks to her husband, Ed, referring to him as a “bitch” (and worse), is offensive to staff. Answer: She doesn’t know why that would upset the staff, but the solution is to have him not come to her chambers.
• Told she should treat people with dignity and respect, Halverson said she didn’t know specifically what she was doing wrong.
After she answered every allegation made against her, Judge Bell told her, “If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it. Get some psychological help.”
On April 12, the three judges tried to meet with Halverson again at 4:30 p.m. She was in a civil nonjury trial. The three judges waited until 6 p.m. before leaving. Later, the judges said they confirmed her trial was over, but she waited in the courtroom until she confirmed they had departed. The judges said Halverson will “falsely” claim she was in trial. Essentially, the judges called her a liar.
We also have it on good authority that she told her doctor she was just “big-boned.”
But despite all of this, Las Vegas voters will have to wait 18 more months to get rid of the behemoth they so nonchalantly voted into office. That is unless a complaint is filed with the Judicial Discipline Commission; the article says that investigators are working on putting one together.
Oh yeah, did we mention that she’s huge?
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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