State Judges

spanking small Society of Janus spank Herman Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgRemember Judge Herman Thomas, the Alabama state court judge who allegedly spanked a number of prisoners? Now there’s a theme song for the scandal, entitled “Spank Me.” Check it out here.
The creator and artist, Jolene Roxbury, is a former paralegal who decided several years ago that comedy was her true calling. You can learn more about her over at her website. Nice work, Jolene!
Jolene Roxbury: Certified Verbal Conversationalist
Earlier: Judge of the Day: Herman Thomas

* Short list of possible attorney general nominees includes George J. Terwilliger III and Judge Laurence H. Silberman (D.C. Circuit). [Washington Post via WSJ Law Blog]
* “Sen. Larry Craig should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea… because he was under extreme stress after being hounded by journalists asking questions about his sexuality, his lawyer argues.” Umm, okay. [Associated Press]
* Judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hike up their robes a little more, show the world about national security. [Sidebar / New York Times via How Appealing]
* Prominent Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu flipped out on train, “at one point stripping off his shirt and shoes,” before his crazy ass got arrested. [San Francisco Chronicle via Drudge Report]
* Uproar over Missouri Supreme Court culminates with Gov. Blunt offering a half-hearted endorsement of his own appointee. [Kansas City Star via How Appealing]

spanking Society of Janus spank Herman Thomas Above the Law blog.jpgMobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas is ATL’s Judge of the Day. He takes the prize for his innovative approach to sentencing. From the Mobile Press-Register:

Authorities are investigating allegations that now-suspended Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Thomas periodically removed prisoners from Mobile County Metro Jail and spanked them in a room at the courthouse, according to courthouse sources involved in the inquiry.

Once inside the room, according to the sources, the judge would ask the young men to drop their pants and prepare to be spanked with what they described as a wooden or fraternity-like paddle.

To quote ex-inmate Paris Hilton, “That’s hot.” We agree with these commenters:

“[I]n San Francisco we have lots of people who pay $200 a session for that kind of treatment. Perhaps this judge has a bright future in Bay Area.”

“That’s some kinky place. I think Senator Larry Craig would like to break INTO that prison!”

More details — including a description of the secret six-by-eight room that allegedly served as the judge’s S-and-M dungeon — are available here.
Authorities investigating paddling allegations against Judge Thomas [Mobile Press-Register]
Judge Accused Of Paddling Inmates [WKRG.com]

What’s up with all these federal judges seeking to leave their life-tenured quarters? We understand that the pay’s not great (which is why we urge them to marry rich). But being an Article III judge is still nice work if you can get it.

Despite the power and prestige, two federal judges are moving on — temporarily or permanently. First, from the Daily Business Review:

Martin Jenkins Judge Martin J Jenkins Above the Law blog.jpgIn a highly unusual move, U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins [N.D. Cal. (at right)], a life-tenured federal judge in San Francisco, is prepared to give up his seat and has applied for an opening on the California State Court of Appeal bench.

Jenkins, 54, a moderate Democrat and former state trial court judge in Oakland, Calif., was appointed by President Clinton a decade ago. He confirmed rumors that he has submitted an application with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for the vacancy.

We understand the allure of an appellate over a trial court gig. But still, giving up the federal bench for a state court is “highly unusual” — especially since the state court in question isn’t even the California Supreme Court (the move that Judge Morrison England (E.D. Cal.) was contemplating, before he withdrew his name from consideration).

Second, from the Houston Chronicle (via Sophistic Miltonian Serbonian Blog):

U.S. District Judge Sam Kent [S.D. Tex.] will take a four-month leave from his Galveston bench for unspecified reasons, according to an order made public Monday.

No one involved would comment on the order, but students of the federal judiciary said it is unusual.

We smell a story here. A little more about Judge Kent, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Musical Chairs: Federal Judges Fleeing the Bench?”

Linda Greenhouse 6 New York Times Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* The best argument for immigration reform: qualified (i.e., hot) fashion models are being kept off American runways. [Fashionista]
* What rating does ATL get — e.g., G, PG, R, etc. — using this tool? To give you context, NBS is a PG-13. [Nasty, Brutish & Short]
* What blogs does Linda Greenhouse read? [My Times ("Journalist's Picks") via Romenesko]
* What blogs do judges read? [May It Please the Court]
* And what blogs should they read? [Blawg Review]
* Speaking of judges, here’s our Judge of the Day — possibly offensive, and wrong on the law too. [AP via NYT]
* The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last, on the Nixon Peabody non-theme-song: “Some things you just can’t un-hear.” [Galley Slaves]

Marian Shelton Bronx Family Court Judge Marian Shelton Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgLast week we described the Honorable Marian Shelton, of Bronx Family Court, as “a true judicial diva.” Here’s more about her, from the New York Post:

A Bronx judge had a court clerk’s wife handcuffed and tossed in a cell for contempt – because she whispered “a**hole” after her husband was kept late at work, a state panel has charged.

Family Court Judge Marian Shelton screamed at the woman, “He’ll leave when he’s finished his work, not when you tell him!” before ordering court officers to take her to a holding cell for the weekend….

Pretty awesome. Should we be surprised to learn that Judge Shelton’s wedding was presided over by another colorful and cantankerous New Yorker, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani?
Interesting enough, Judge Shelton is being eyed for elevation — but not to an appellate court. Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Judge Marian Shelton: A Judge Judy in Waiting?”

John Plough Ohio Portage County Judge John Plough Above the Law blog.jpgWe alluded to this briefly last week (item #3). But since a number of you have emailed us about it, let’s take a second look.
Judge John Plough, of Portage County, Ohio, is our hands-down Judge of the Day. From the Law & Justice Unit of ABC News:

Portage County Judge John Plough had assistant public defender Brian Jones arrested for contempt of court last week after Jones refused to begin a misdemeanor assault trial because he said he was unprepared. Jones was assigned to the case one day earlier….

Plough’s ruling prompted an outcry from defense lawyers, both in Ohio and across the country. Carmen Hernandez, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said in a statement that defense lawyers have an ethical obligation not to start trial if they are not prepared.

“Asking a lawyer to go to trial without preparation is like asking a doctor to perform surgery before diagnosing the patient,” she said.

Well, look on the bright side. At least the defendant’s speedy trial right is being vindicated!
Judge Has Unprepared Lawyer Arrested [ABC News]

* Ann Althouse is a visiting professor at Brooklyn Law School this year — and they’ve put her up in an apartment with some pretty sweet views. (Perhaps she can see 125 Broad Street, home of Sullivan & Cromwell, where she once worked as an associate.) [Althouse]
* Pope Benedict: Tax evasion is sinful (in case you didn’t know that already). [TaxProf Blog]
* Judge to public defender: What, you’re not ready to go to trial on a case you’ve had for less than a day? I’m holding you in contempt! [Record-Courier]
* Courtesy of Orin Kerr, pointers for how to talk about the Jose Padilla verdict at the next cocktail party you attend. [Volokh Conspiracy]

Michael Joyce Judge Michael Thomas Joyce Michael T Joyce Above the Law blog.jpgWe fondly remember this episode of 90210: “Brenda gets into a car accident. The woman involved in the accident claims she has whiplash and threatens to sue the Walsh family.”
But then, when Brenda visits the woman at home to apologize, she looks through the living room window — and sees the woman jazzercising in front of her TV!
We were reminded of it by this AP story:

An appeals court judge was indicted on charges of scamming $440,000 from insurers by claiming he suffered debilitating injuries in a car crash, even while he golfed, skated and went scuba diving, federal prosecutors said….

“The bodily injury he says he sustained we believe was fraudulent,” U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said.

According to the indictment, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Michael Thomas Joyce “received $390,000 from his insurer, Erie Insurance Group, and $50,000 from State Farm Insurance, which insured the other driver.” But maybe the insurers should have been a little suspicious:

Prosecutors said Joyce’s car was rear-ended at about 5 mph in August 2001, and no police or medical personnel were called…. [Yet] Joyce complained of debilitating injuries, anxiety and difficulty sleeping and claimed they prevented him from pursuing higher judicial office, prosecutors said.

Being indicted on federal fraud charges might “prevent[] him from pursuing higher judicial office,” too.
Pa. Judge Accused of Bilking Insurers [Associated Press]

Elizabeth Halverson 3 Judge Elizabeth Halverson Liz Halverson Above the Law blog.jpg
Since the last coverage 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Update on the Large (and Decidedly NOT In Charge) Judge Elizabeth Halverson”

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