State Judges Are Clowns

Earlier this week, we wrote about Natalie Hegedus, a young Michigan mother who claims she was “humiliated” after a judge called her out for breastfeeding in court. Women across the country were outraged that a judge would find this sort of behavior in his courtroom to be inappropriate.

As we noted previously, Michigan is is one of only five states that does not have a law that would allow nursing mothers to breastfeed anytime, anywhere. But some women in Michigan apparently don’t give a damn about the law (or lack thereof).

Later this month, an advocacy group called No Injustice Against Nursing in Public (NINJA NIPs, for short) will be staging a protest outside of the courthouse where Hegedus was shamed. What kind of a protest, you ask? A nurse-in….

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This version of her face was better.

* Grassley, if you think a letter will get the SCOTUS health care arguments on TV, then you probably think the ABA is going to do something about your letters to them, too. Aww. [Blog of Legal Times]

* When in doubt, get the f**k out. Take this expert advice from Judge Paul Hawkes: the best way to avoid an ethics hearing is to quit resign from your job. [Palm Beach Post]

* Mmm, “law school porn.” So thick, so long, so… stupid. Just think of all of the other bigger and better things that law schools could be spending your tuition money on. [National Law Journal]

* And in real porn news, a litigant says that Jenna Jameson is “possessed.” But was he talking about her case, or the evil plastic surgery demon who did a number on her face? [Chicago Tribune]

* Gary Busey is being sued for walking under the influence at an Oklahoma airport. Applicable Buseyism? CRAP: Colliding Recklessly Against Passengers. [International Business Times]

We’ve written in these pages before about the wrath that breastfeeding mothers incur on a seemingly daily basis. Like it or not, for some women, breastfeeding is part and parcel of being a new mother. And whether you’ve lost your job or you’ve been prevented from taking the LSAT, sometimes the discrimination that these women face just seems downright unfair.

So what happens when you’re a breastfeeding mother but life just isn’t cooperating with you? What happens when you have to start nursing in a public place, and that place just so happens to be a courtroom?

Here’s what one judge has to say about whipping out a boob in public….

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Chief Judge Amanda Williams

Because of your disdain for the young man’s use of the term ‘baby momma,’ you ordered that the defendant be summarily jailed.

– An excerpt from a Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint filed in Georgia against Chief Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams, who oversees the operation of state’s largest drug court. Williams faces an ethics complaint for “using tyrannical partiality” on the bench.

In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing.

– Judge William Adams, defending the brutal beating of his disabled daughter, Hillary Adams, after a YouTube video of the event went viral.

Judge William Adams

* Remember Judge William Adams, the Texas state court judge who was reportedly videotaped in the act of beating his daughter, Hillary Adams? He has now commented on the situation (and so has his ex-wife, Hallie Adams). [KZTV.com]

* And here is Kashmir Hill’s take on the whole sad situation. [Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]

* Members of the law review at GW Law School have issued a comment on the recent email controversy — which is impressive! (Aside: lighten up, guys; it’s all in good fun.) [Nota Bene]

* FYI, if you have problems with anonymous comments here at Above the Law, you should know that we’re having an internal discussion about possibly changing our system. [What About Clients?]

* Beating a dead horse isn’t illegal. Doing what this woman did to a dead horse isn’t illegal. Sucks to be a dead horse. [Daily Mail]

* Our friend Joseph Rakofsky makes it into the Urban Dictionary. [The Trial Warrior; Legal Skills Prof Blog]

* Says Elie: “Some say WVU’s lawsuit against the Big East reflects ‘arrogance.’ The real arrogance is how Notre Dame refuses to come in and save the conference.” [Legal Blitz]

* Swordplay: it’s all fun and games until someone’s intestines spill out of his abdomen. [CBS 3 - Springfield]

Judge William Adams

Warning: the following video is very disturbing. I’m not a squeamish person, and I couldn’t really watch the whole thing.

It’s sweeping the internet today: it’s a video of a man beating his daughter. Allegedly, that man is Judge William Adams, the Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge.

And the video was uploaded by Hillary Adams, the victim.

It’s all a bit much. But it is what everybody is talking about today….

UPDATE (3 PM): Comments from Judge William Adams and from his ex-wife, Hallie Adams, have been added below.

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Judge Maryesther Merlo. Who will play her in the movie? Suggestions welcome.

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of Judge Rae Lee Chabot, a state court judge in Michigan. Judge Chabot was accused of taking three-hour lunch breaks and long shopping trips to the Gap, in the middle of the workday.

I wrote in defense of Judge Chabot, whose judicial work was well-regarded despite her, ummm, flexible work schedule. I opined that “[a]s long as a judge is reasonably current with his docket, he should be left alone. There is no face-time requirement for judges.”

But even I would have a hard time defending the latest judicial diva under fire, Judge Maryesther Merlo of Allentown District Court in Pennsylvania. Judge Merlo — or make that ex-judge Merlo, since she just got removed from the bench — allegedly missed 116 days of work, from September 2007 to December 2009. That amounts to over 23 weeks, in a period of about two years.

And that’s not all Maryesther Merlo stands accused of. Her treatment of defendants appearing before her may have strayed beyond the merely tough into the downright rude….

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(Not that she spent much time on it anyway.)

* Not a wardrobe malfunction, my ass. Nancy Grace would sooner allow Casey Anthony to babysit her kids than admit that she had a nip slip on live television. [New York Post]

* When you have a “superior legal mind,” it’s easier for your feelings to get hurt. Gregory Berry now claims that Kasowitz Benson was “extraordinarily vindictive.” [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Irving Picard’s suit against Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz has been dismissed (for the most part). This is the best thing to happen to the Mets since Bill Buckner. [Bloomberg]

* In the past, when a wife cried in Massachusetts, a judge would wipe her tears with her husband’s checkbook, but alimony just ain’t what it used to be. [New York Times]

* Apparently judges in San Luis Obispo, California have banged one gavel too many. They’ve been reaching verdicts outside the courtroom to pad their own benefits packages. [Legal Newsline]

* Florida International isn’t just dominating the University of Miami in football this year. FIU schooled Miami when it came to Florida’s bar exam results, too. [Miami New Times]

Judge Wayne Phillips: He likes clerk butt and he cannot lie?

When I learned about this lawsuit out of Montana (via Morning Docket), I thought it might be from The Onion or an old episode of Ally McBeal. Reports the Billings Gazette: “A lawsuit has been filed against Fergus County District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips by a female law clerk who alleges that the judge slapped her in the buttocks with a legal file.”

If the clerk’s allegation is true, was Judge Phillips’s action inappropriate? Certainly. Was it rude? Most definitely. But should it spawn a civil lawsuit, as well as possible criminal charges? Absolutely not.

And wait until you hear what the clerk is claiming in damages….

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