Today in court I was sitting in the gallery with my client, waiting for the case to be called, and one of the cases ahead of us was a plea and sentencing.
Granted, the defendant was admitting her guilt to the court for some sort of forgery charge, I was not her attorney and had not seen the file, but regardless, I was astounded at what the judge did.
Not only did he fulfill his judicial obligation by reviewing the paperwork and ensuring the defendant’s competency to go forward with the proceeding, which is not only required but expected, but he began to preach…
Now, I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and was immeresed in that point of view for longer than I care to remember, but the judge really reminded me of some of the preachers that took the pulpit when I was sitting there as a kid, afraid of burning in hell for all eternity.
This judge, who is supposed to be neutral, proceeded to lecture this defendant about his opinion of her "having committed 4 felonies in 3 years" and lamenting the fact that she could not be sent to prison for 25 years to 99 years. He then began to berate the legislature for inventing the State Jail Felony system. He even commented that "he wished he could do more to punish her".
Wow, sounds like this judge and many like him need to remember that none of us are perfect. I wonder if he practices what he preaches? If not, I like to imagine how he may feel were he to be so dehumanized like he put this lady down.