Judge of the Day

flat tire judge robert nalley.jpgSpeaking of judges with tempers… From the Washington Post:

A Charles County judge is under investigation for allegedly letting the air out of the tire of a car belonging to a woman who works as a part-time cleaning worker at the courthouse, according to the car owner and sources familiar with the incident.

Two county sheriff’s jail officers said they saw Circuit Court Judge Robert C. Nalley letting the air out of the back right tire of a 2004 Toyota Corolla parked just outside the La Plata courthouse about 3:45 p.m. Monday, according to the two sources.

Apparently, the woman had taken Nalley’s spot:

Jean Washington, the owner of the Toyota, said in an interview that she had just entered the courthouse for her work shift when a sheriff’s deputy alerted her, “Jean, you need to move your car. Judge Nalley’s going to let the air out of it.”
Washington, 51, said she rushed out and moved her car to a different parking lot, farther from the courthouse. When she pulled into another parking spot, another sheriff’s deputy told her that her rear passenger tire was flat, Washington said.

Judge Nalley, we kind of love you. That’s what you get for taking a judge’s parking spot, cleaner lady!

Unfortunately, Nalley may not be entitled to his parking spot righteousness.

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fuck.jpgJeffrey L. Marcuzzo is a Nebraska county judge with a temper. Leigh Jones at the National Law Journal reports that Marcuzzo’s corn got husked when a prosecutor rescheduled a matter before him back in October 2007. Marcuzzo called and left a vulgar message on the prosecutor’s voicemail:

“I did not appreciate that one f**king bit. And if I find out you ever did that again to me or any other members of the county court bench, I’ll shove it up your a** so f**king far it will make your throat hurt.”

The Supreme Court of Nebraska has disciplined the judge for violating judicial disciplinary rules and sentenced him to a 120-day suspension without pay.
We were curious: How did the prosecutor react to the profane message?

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Homeless deadbeat dad.jpgSpeaking about whether or not judges should be empathetic, try this one on for size. A homeless man in Georgia has been jailed for over a year for failure to pay child support for a kid. He is not the biological parent and the judge knew he wasn’t the biological parent at the time he sent the man to jail.
Excuse me, I need to quickly sign my papers demanding support from Tavis Smiley.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

In the 1980s, Hatley had a relationship with Essie Lee Morrison, who became pregnant, had a baby boy and told [homeless man Frank Hatley] the child was his, according to court records. The couple never married and split up shortly after Travon was born in 1987….
But in 2000, DNA samples from Hatley and Travon showed the two were not related, according to a court records.
With the help of a Georgia Legal Services lawyer, Hatley went to court and was relieved of his responsibility to pay future child support. But he still had to deal with being a deadbeat dad when it was assumed that he was really the dad.

Notwithstanding the fact that he was not the biological father, Hatley paid child support for years. More details after the jump.

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timothy ellender.jpgJudge Timothy Ellender may be a Louisianian but he lacks a certain sense of Southern charm or diplomacy. A few years back, he got in trouble for wearing blackface and a jail jumpsuit to a Halloween party. That earned the racially-insensitive judge a six-month suspension.
It turns out the judge is also insensitive when it comes to domestic abuse issues. From WWLTV:

A Terrebonne Parish judge has been suspended for 30 days and fined $185 for violating the code of judicial conduct with inappropriate comments during a 2007 hearing on a domestic abuse case.
In transcripts from a 2007 hearing Judge Timothy Ellender, of the 32nd Judicial District Court for the Parish of Terrebonne, seemed to grow impatient with the complainant’s attempt to secure a restraining order instead of divorcing her husband.

This Cajun knocked fast food and praised knocking a child around while presiding over Eula Smith Warren’s request for a TRO. The transcript from the Louisiana Supreme Court Recommendation for Discipline [pdf] via Courthouse News Service:

THE COURT: All right. It says: “On Sunday, February 11th, we were in Subway eating.” Can’t you find a better place to eat than that? “Before we went to the parade. My daughter, Sabrina, two, was acting up in the store and didn’t want to sit down to eat. He told Sabrina if she didn’t stop he was going to bring her to the bathroom and it was
going to be a bloody mess.” True?
MR. WARREN: No, sir. I told her that I was going to take her in the bathroom and whip her booty and make her booty bleed.
THE COURT: That’s good. Good for you.

More examples of Ellender’s “exhibiting improper temperament and demeanor and failing to act with patience, dignity, and courtesy,” after the jump.

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Judge keys car range rover.jpgA Texas judge has been indicted for keying his neighbor’s Range Rover. The Houston Chronicle reports the possible penalties for criminal mischief in Texas:

Woody Ray Densen, 69, could face 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted. He could also be disciplined by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct.

That’s all you get for keying another man’s truck in Texas? I thought that was a capital offense down there.
Judge Densen’s alleged vandalism was caught on tape. It was worth him doing it, just to catch him doing it:

Adam Kliebert, a 40-year-old home builder, set up a surveillance camera in his Rice Village-area driveway that recorded a man he identified as Densen walking behind his 2006 Range Rover and appearing to pause and tamper with it on May 23. Kliebert has said he was frustrated that someone kept damaging his SUV, leaving him with repair bills for $3,000.

After the jump, let’s check out the video.

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Thor Anderson.JPGDistrict Judge Thor Anderson, a trial court judge in Minnesota, could be a Judge of the Day simply on the strength of his powerful name. His dashing picture to the right — taken a long time ago, perhaps in a galaxy far, far away — would be enough to clinch the deal.
But Judge Anderson (a.k.a. Mr. Thor) also has a creative flair when he writes opinions. Last week, the judge ruled in favor of an alleged drunk driver, by granting a pretrial discovery motion. But his unhappiness with the outcome, dictated by a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that he believes makes no sense, will shake law libraries in Minnesota like a terrifying thunderclap.
At issue was Minnesota’s source code litigation. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that drunk driving defendants are entitled to the source code from their (failed) breathalyzer tests. This would be fine, if the state actually had the source code — which it doesn’t.
Judge Anderson explains the problem like this:
Minnesota v Sommers excerpt 1.JPG
Notwithstanding the state’s difficulties in obtaining the source code from the Breathalyzer’s manufacturers, the Minnesota Supreme Court believes that defendants are entitled to the information.
The thunder God becomes angered, after the jump.

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dallas judge smackdown.jpgTwo civil court judges in the Lone Star State got physical in their benchslapping yesterday, reports the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog:

It was a reported shoving match between Judge Carlos Cortez of the 44th Civil District Court and Judge Eric V. Moyé of the 14th Civil District Court. The fight occurred in Cortez’s chambers in front of a witness — a Dallas County sheriff’s deputy, according to Roger Mandel, who is Cortez’s attorney.
“Judge Cortez was physically assaulted by Judge Moye in Judge Cortez’s chambers,” Mandel said. “Judge Moye’s conduct is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Department.”

Moyé went after Cortez in Cortez’s own chambers! That’s so wrong. One tipster explains why Moyé might have had an advantage in the tangle:

I’d take Moyé in the fight… [he] is a long-time student of Aikido (see this – he’s also a top Amazon reviewer) and I think he still teaches at his dojo. In any event, the interesting question is what this would do (true or not) to Moyé’s alleged aspirations to the federal bench (he was nominated by Clinton back in the day and is rumored to have a continuing interest).

Well, we now know Moye is mighty capable of the judicial smackdown, an important part of being a federal judge. But it looks like he’s going to be the subject of a criminal investigation, which can’t be good for his aspirations.
More on this, why the judges were mixing it up, and Judge Cortez’s MySpace page, after the jump.

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myron steele racy video above the law.jpgLooks like Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron Steele has pulled a Kozinski. The (Delaware) News Journal reports that Steele sent out a racy video from his court e-mail account to “38 men,” who Steele said were former clerks, lawyers, another Delaware judge and a Delaware businessman.
Of the 38 men, the journalist found only one who would go on the record with her and defend the justice. “It is a years-old television commercial for a defunct European Web site,” Wilmington lawyer Mike Kelly said. From the News Journal:

The e-mailed video obtained by The News Journal, called “Wine-Opener,” depicts a professional-looking young woman in a bar competing with a glamorous blonde for the attention of a man by simulating oral sex with a wine bottle. Steele, who received the e-mail from a man, forwarded it with the message: “Write your own caption for this one.”

ATL “obtained” the video too. By going to YouTube and searching “Wine Opener.” Check it out, after the jump.

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Judge DeBello above the law.jpgThe story of New Jersey Superior Court Judge Lawrence DeBello has the makings for a great romantic tale — the forbidden love between a judge and his law clerk.

From the New Jersey Law Journal:

A Mercer County, N.J., judge has admitted breaching judicial ethics and policies by sending romantic e-mails to his former law clerk via his judiciary e-mail account and by using his judicial office to help land her a public defender job.

The alluring law lovely, who has not been named, clerked for DeBello in Hudson County Family Court from 2006 through 2007. When she left, she and DeBello kept in touch, exchanging e-mails that discussed “personal matters” and used “offensive language”, according to the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct complaint [PDF].

DeBello unwisely used his judicial e-mail account for their correspondence, rather than opening a get_underneath_my_robes@gmail.com account. Even after being warned by his judicial superiors, DeBello could not keep his passion tamed:

DeBello admitted that at a December 2007 meeting with Hudson County Assignment Judge Maurice Gallipoli and Hudson County Trial Court Administrator Joseph Davis, he conceded the e-mails were inappropriate…. But after that meeting, the e-mails continued and even heated up. DeBello admitted that in December 2007 and mid-January 2008, he “participated in the escalation of the intimate tone and nature of those e-mail exchanges, which concerned their respective romantic feelings for one another.”

In January 2008, DeBello was transferred to Mercer County, but kept up the e-mails, trying to help the former clerk get a new job. He admitted he “used the power and prestige of his office” to advance her “private interests” by making an unsolicited telephone call to Deputy Public Defender Edward Marable — head of the Office of Law Guardian for the northwest region, who had appeared before him in court — telling him the former clerk was interested in a law guardian job.

Love obviously made this justice blind to the error of his ways. We just hope he got more than legal research out of his judicial Juliet.

DeBello has filed an answer [PDF] to the complaint which basically amounts to “Busted.” As Will S. said, the course of true love never did run smooth.

Judge Admits Ethics Breach Over Torrid E-Mails With Former Clerk [New Jersey Law Journal]

Judge Hit With Ethics Charges Over Steamy E-Mails With Former Clerk [New Jersey Law Journal]

In Blawg Review #204, I quipped that lawyers don’t do well in a street fight. Thanks to Judge Ian Richards, I stand corrected. Check out this TMZ video:

Judge Ian Richards.jpg

The video is a little grainy, so let me give you the play-by-play, after the jump.

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