Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Judge suspended for jailing court

By Cernig

Give some folk authority and they turn into petty tyrants.
A US judge has been removed from the bench for jailing an entire courtroom audience after none of them admitted being responsible for a ringing phone. Judge Robert Restaino was presiding over a domestic violence case in the city of Niagara Falls in March 2005.

A commission on judicial conduct said Judge Restaino had acted "without any semblance of a lawful basis" and behaved like a "petty tyrant".

The judge has said he was under stress in his personal life at the time.

...[The commission] said the 48-year-old judge had been presiding over a series of domestic violence cases when he heard a mobile phone ring and "snapped".

"Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now," he told the courtroom's audience, according to the commission.

...The judge told the commission he had known that he had no legal basis for his actions and that they had been "improper and inexcusable".

The judge's lawyer, Terrence Connors, told the Associated Press that he would exercise his right to appeal the decision within 30 days. He will remain in office during that time.
I know you're probably wondering, so I'll tell you - he's a Democrat. The story is currently one of the BBC's most emailled, so it's going to be all over the place by lunchtime. Aren't the wingnuts gonna love this one?

I don't care what party you belong to nor how much stress you've been under. This is unacceptable behaviour for someone in such a position of authority. He shouldn't make an appeal and the local Democratic party should disavow the guy.

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