Society attempts to condition us to believe that when a person is put into a position of power, then either that person was always suitable for that position, or magically becomes suitable immediately upon taking power. This is particularly true with judges; we're encouraged to believe that black robes necessarily denote, or bring with them, good judgment.
As any lawyer who has practiced more than a few weeks will tell you, it ain't necessarily so. Judges are mere human beings, and just as likely to be stupid and/or demented as anyone else.
Occasionally this truth is thrown into sharp relief.
Judge Elizabeth Halverson is in a bit of trouble out Vegas way. She's accused of a number of behaviors that push the envelope of judicial eccentricity:
Court documents—including the sworn affidavits of county administrators, judges and courthouse staff—contain the following claims:
• Insulting lawyers with sarcasm and taunts about not having contributed to her campaign.
• Applying her own brand of justice, such as talking to criminal juries during deliberations and outside the presence of the lawyers.
• Treating staffers as though they were her servants.
Though Halverson denies or minimizes much of it, hundreds of pages of formal complaints, sworn affidavits and official inquiries chronicle a mind-numbing series of accusations from a broad spectrum of county employees.
For instance, Halverson’s bailiff, a black man, says he was ordered to rub her feet, give her back massages, put on her shoes, change her oxygen bottles and pick up papers, cookie crumbs and sunflower seed hulls strewn on the floor of her chambers. He eventually filed a claim for discrimination based on race, religion and sex.
The bailiff, Johnny Jordan, was to be waiting for her each day at the building entrance at 7:30 a.m., though she often arrived at 8:30 or later.
Halverson, the bailiff and other staffers alleged, would sometimes throw items on the floor and order Jordan to pick them up.
When Halverson’s mother visited in chambers, she asked her daughter, in the bailiff’s presence: “Is he your servant?”
A courtroom clerk alleged that Halverson had her swear in staffers so she could ask them pointed questions under oath about what they might be telling other judges about her. On one occasion, she said, Halverson had her husband sworn in so she could ask him, apparently under penalty of perjury, whether he would have their house clean in time for her mother’s visit.
Halverson sees the bench as an opportunity, apparently.
Naturally, in this celebrity-driven age, the remedy for such behavior is not punishment. It's treatment:
According to the memo, one judge at the meeting suggested she get professional help. Halverson agreed, saying she would like a business coach to help her and her staff communicate better.
Read the whole thing.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017
- Anatomy of a Scam, Chapter 15: The Wheels, They Grind - August 10th, 2017