Thursday, December 11, 2008

Judicial Misadventure

In the wake of barrister and part-time judge Constance Briscoe appearing in the High Court as a defendant in a libel action brought by her own mother and the surprise resignation of Sheriff Andrew Lothian following allegations about his private life Helen MacKenzie of CaseCheck has written an article The Good, the Bad and the Ugly looking at other examples of judicial mishaps.

Allegedly a Judge was removed from the bench by the Virginia Supreme Court, after trying to encourage parents to resolve a Christmas visitation dispute by tossing a coin. It was found flipping a coin does not fully uphold the dignity of the judiciary (Times Online). Earlier in another case the same Judge ordered a woman to drop her trousers in court so that he could see a stab wound.

South Texas Justice of the Peace Gustavo Garza suggested parents could spank their errant children with the wooden 'paddle' in court instead of paying a fine. The parents of one teenager, who was struck, have now filed a claim against him. (

In a drug trafficking case Australian judge Ian Dodd appeared to be asleep for periods of up to twenty minutes at a time and a retrial has been ordered. (Daily Mail)

US Judge Robert Restaino was removed from office last year after he jailed the entire courtroom (46 people) when no one admitted to owning the mobile phone that had gone off in court during a domestic violence hearing. (BBC)


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