Do public officials in Michigan need to jump in the lake? Last week, we covered an assistant attorney general in the Wolverine State who is on the hunt for a gay student at the University of Michigan. Today we bring you news of a misbehaving judge.
According to court records, Judge James M. Justin, a state district judge in Jackson County, dismissed nine traffic cases against himself and his wife. The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that the judge fixed four illegal-parking tickets that he received from 2002 to 2004. He also dismissed five traffic tickets received by his wife, Kim R. Justin, over a ten-year span. Who says chivalry is dead?
Judge Justin’s tickets were, amusingly enough, “dismissed after explanation” — to himself. Presumably Judge Justin found his explanations very convincing.
So what does His Honor have to say about all this?
And when they commit crimes and get sentenced, immigrants are sometimes subjected to snide remarks by judges. The Seventh Circuit recently vacated a sentence and remanded for resentencing by a different judge, after trial judge Rudolph Randa (E.D. Wis.) made some unfortunate comments in sentencing defendant Jose Figueroa. From the Seventh Circuit opinion, by the fabulous Judge Diane Wood:
During the hearing, the district court digressed to discuss Figueroa’s native Mexico, the immigration status of Figueroa and his sisters, and the conditions and laws in half a dozen other countries—not to mention unnecessary references to Hugo Chávez, Iranian terrorists, and Adolf Hitler’s dog.
Chávez, Iranian terrorists, and Hitler’s dog. Those are all § 3553(a) factors, right?
So how exactly did Judge Randa achieve the impressive feat of working all of these topics into a routine sentencing?
We don’t normally cross international borders to find judges to write about; there are enough colorful characters in the U.S. judiciary. But when the jurist in question has appeared in pornography that made its way on to the interwebs, we make an exception.
There are some updates in the tale of Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge who appeared in nude photos showing Her Honor engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and performing oral sex. We previously “exposed” the story here and here.
The first one is an amusing yet cautionary tale. Just because your porn features a judicial angel in the centerfold doesn’t mean it’s not porn — and, as such, inappropriate to keep on your work computer.
This is a lesson that Alex Chapman, the man who has filed ethics complaint and civil lawsuits against Justice Douglas and her husband, prominent divorce lawyer Jack King, learned the hard way….
Yesterday we wrote about Madam Justice Lori Douglas, a Canadian judge in Manitoba who, in her pre-robescent days, apparently posed for nude pictures — while engaged in such activities as bondage, sex toy play, and oral sex. These photographs apparently made their way on to an interracial porn website called DarkCavern.com (without Douglas’s knowledge or consent, according to her husband — who claims he posted the pics during a bout with depression).
The pictures came to light when an ethics complaint was filed against Justice Douglas and her husband, matrimonial lawyer Jack King. A former client of King, an African-Canadian gentleman by the name of Alex Chapman, claims that King sexually harassed him by showing him the porn pics of Lori Douglas and encouraging him (Chapman) to have sexual relations with Douglas. According to Chapman, King suffers not just from depression but from “Jungle Fever”: he is titillated by African-Canadian men getting it on with white women.
Justice Douglas did not comment to CBC News, which broke the story. But she has taken other action in the wake of the scandal….
Up in Canada, judges have no problem with cameras in the courtroom. As Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin explained in a recent discussion with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Canada’s high court has had cameras in the courtroom for over 20 years, and they haven’t caused any problems. [FN1]
Some Canadian judges don’t have a problem with cameras outside the courtroom, either. As reported by CBC News, naked photographs of a senior judge from Canada engaging in bondage, playing with sex toys and performing oral sex were previously posted on the internet. These nude pictures are now part of ethics complaints filed in July against the judge, Lori Douglas, associate chief justice of Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, and her husband, Winnipeg family lawyer Jack King.
And the pics are just the tip of the iceberg. The complainant, a 44-year-old computer specialist named Alexander Chapman, claims that Jack King, Chapman’s lawyer at the time, sexually harassed Chapman by pressuring him to have sex with King’s wife, Lori Douglas (still a lawyer at the time).
So… many… questions. Let’s learn more — plus ogle a bigger and better photo of Madam Justice Douglas….
Hippocrate “Cheecho” Mertsaris: Does he have a weakness for judicial buttocks?
In a few weeks, an interesting trial will be getting underway in Queens Criminal Court here in New York. The underlying incident should provide fodder for either a Lawyer of the Day or a Judge of the Day — but it’s not clear which.
The episode giving rise to the criminal charges was reported back in May by the New York Daily News:
A disabled lawyer accused of touching the rear end of a Taxi and Limousine Commission judge is blaming it on his cerebral palsy. Queens prosecutors have charged Hippocrate Mertsaris, 35, with sexual abuse and sexual harassment for allegedly grabbing the woman’s inner thigh and buttocks during a meeting in her Kew Gardens offices.
Mertsaris’ lawyer, Wyatt Gibbons, admits his client touched the woman but denies it was sexual. “He whacked her in the butt but it wasn’t sexual abuse,” Gibbons said. “He has spastic movements.”
Virginia is for lovers (of video games). A judge in Wise, Virginia was so enamored of the shooting game Halo that he may have crossed ethical lines to play it.
The not-so Wise judge struck up a friendship with a defendant he’d previously sent to jail. Their gaming relationship came to light when Judge Joseph Carico got into a car accident while driving his Halo partner/courtroom visitor home after a night of shooting people up. From the Bristol Herald Courier:
The game of choice that night, said passenger Jeremy Hubbard, was the popular first-person shoot-’em-up Halo 3 on the X-Box 360 gaming platform.
The two also played some sports games on the Nintendo Wii platform, which Hubbard, 28, said is the judge’s preferred gaming system.
Carico may have quick reflexes in virtual reality but hit a tree when a real deer sprinted in front of his car while driving Hubbard home at one in the morning on a Saturday night. (At least, he wasn’t playing until the wee hours on a school night like some other judges we know.)
Hubbard and Carico first met due to Hubbard’s legal troubles — he’s previously been found guilty of felony shoplifting and heroin possession. Carico has now stepped down from the bench and area lawyers believe it’s because of the November car accident and gaming revelation. But c’mon, what’s the problem with a judge playing video games with a convicted felon?
But Judge Bennett is making waves of his own in his Iowa courtroom. He’s decided that he wants lawyers to participate in an auction to determine who will get to serve as lead counsel in some consolidated antitrust cases.
And he informed lawyers of this with a curious email. The subject line alone is not something one expects from a federal judge:
Waterman v. VS Holding Co. et al (10cv4038) – consolidated antitrust actions – “going once, twice, sold to the lowest bidder” – ready to rumble?
Not only is this judge “ready to rumble,” he’s also ready to insult lawyers from East Coast law firms…
Southern Florida has been hit by a storm of insensitivity that has achieved gale force — Peggy Gehl force. Complaints about Judge Peggy Gehl and inappropriate comments she allegedly made from the bench were recently lodged with Chief Judge Victor Tobin of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit.
(The story broke last week in theSouthFloridablogosphere. But it hasn’t received much attention beyond the Sunshine State, perhaps because it happened right before Memorial Day weekend.)
On May 26, Howard Finkelstein — public defender for Broward County, as well as a television personality with his own show — sent a letter to Chief Judge Tobin, describing “four incidents wherein Judge Gehl made racist comments.” Here’s the first fun allegation:
Maybe Judge Gehl should have asked Wright Muir for a Red Stripe too?
This was just one of four incidents. We describe the other allegations against Judge Gehl — and interview PD Howard Finkelstein, a colorful character in his own right — after the jump.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
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Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
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The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.