Thanks in part to a post in Crime & Federalism I've been thinking about the importance of naming names in the criminal justice system. And here is what I've come to: I think that judges ought to rise above the fray and decide issues in principled ways, and many of them do. To them, I raise a glass. They have a hard job to do, and they do it well. However, I also think that the right has had no compunction about excoriating judges and politicizing the process. The result has been a week-kneed judiciary cowed into twisting the constitution into pro-prosecutorial knots in order to avoid being labeled 'soft on crime.'
This has got to stop, and I have come to believe that the only antidote is to start naming those who screw over poor people, who commit horrendous acts of unnecessary cruelty, and who rule out of cowardice. And so, without further ado, a list that names names:
Some Really Horrible Judges and what they've done:
JUDGE PAUL 'MAC' PEATROSS--Virginia--Sentenced a defendant to extra time because he hated the defense lawyer. Although discipline was recommended, the Virginia Supreme Court declined to impose it.
JUDGE RALPH FABRIZIO--The Bronx--Refused to dismiss a case because he wanted to protect the city of New York from liability in a civil suit filed against it for the tortious conduct of the police officers.
JUDGE PRESTON BOWIE--Chicago--Dispatched deputies to arrest a pregnant juror.
JUDGE EILEEN O'CONNOR--Florida--Colluding with prosecutors, (she was a former prosecutor herself) she jailed a young african american juror because, she said, he lied about his arrests. As it turns out--both of his cases were non-processed and were not convictions or anything at all. To make matters worse, it seems she herself lied about her qualifications in order to get on the bench, failing to disclose the lawsuits that resulted from her anti-semitic and racist behavior.
JUDGE JENNIFER BRUNNER--OHIO (not as I previously wrote, Pennsylvania)--put a legal aid lawyer in jail for suggesting (my guess is rightly) that she was colluding with prosecutors to coerce a plea from a client. She is now running for higher office.
There are so many more, and perhaps ever month or so, I'll continue to do the hall of shame list. But feel free to contribute in the comments section below, preferably with links to their reprehensible acts.