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cali

(114,904 posts)
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:56 AM Aug 2016

I'm a Judge and I Think Criminal Court Is Horrifying

I love going to court.

There is drama. There is pathos. It is the place I go, as a bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of New York, to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States, and to administer justice "without respect to persons."

So when my daughter, a public defender, asked me to accompany her to observe a day of arraignments in Bronx Criminal Court one Sunday, I jumped at the opportunity. A busman's holiday—going to court on a Sunday! I assumed it would all be very familiar, similar to what I do and see every day, except maybe with a bit more of a Law and Order vibe.

<snip>


I was shocked at the casual racism emanating from the bench. The judge explained a "stay away" order to a Hispanic defendant by saying that if the complainant calls and invites you over for "rice and beans," you cannot go. She lectured some defendants that most young men "with names like yours" have lengthy criminal records by the time they reach a certain age.

<snip>

One young man's arraignment was particularly unnerving: The ADA noted that the defendant's "street name" is "Guns and Butter," and then proceeded to refer to the young man not as "the defendant" or by his given name, but rather as "Mr. Guns and Butter." The judge made a thinly veiled attempt to hide her giggles, while the court officers made no attempt whatsoever to subdue their outright laughter.

<snip>

The low point of the day—literally—came when a young man, obeying the court officer's order to put his hands behind his back as he stood before the judge, did as he was told, and his pants dropped to his ankles. Once the court officers caught their breath from laughing, they barked at him, "Where is your belt?" Of course, it was taken from him in the lockup, he said.


So much more:
http://www.vice.com/read/judge-shelley-chapman-criminal-court-bronx-horror

8 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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I'm a Judge and I Think Criminal Court Is Horrifying (Original Post) cali Aug 2016 OP
K&R Jeffersons Ghost Aug 2016 #1
Thanks, JG. Good to see you. cali Aug 2016 #2
Just curious LakeArenal Aug 2016 #3
I have no idea. Why not contact her or Vice? cali Aug 2016 #4
over the past year i have become much more aware that legal does not mean just dembotoz Aug 2016 #5
I.like that this is written by a fellow member of the bench Arazi Aug 2016 #6
Thank you so much for commenting. Issues get subsumed in the frenzy of Trumpism cali Aug 2016 #7
Judges should not be administering shame or punishment. That is not their job. stevenleser Aug 2016 #8

LakeArenal

(28,590 posts)
3. Just curious
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 11:57 AM
Aug 2016

Is Judge Chapman going to put in an official report to whomever? Right now it appears to be just a story on line.

dembotoz

(16,703 posts)
5. over the past year i have become much more aware that legal does not mean just
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 12:09 PM
Aug 2016

always knew that but as of late i have seen up close a couple examples where is was plain and obvious.

couple that with experience i have had on jury duty years ago....NO faith in the legal system

none
nada
zippo

Arazi

(6,821 posts)
6. I.like that this is written by a fellow member of the bench
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 12:10 PM
Aug 2016

It's certainly.not a secret that justice is far too racist and unfair for POC but its good its getting aired by a fellow justice.

Good OP. Thanks for this

 

stevenleser

(32,886 posts)
8. Judges should not be administering shame or punishment. That is not their job.
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 12:18 PM
Aug 2016

I've not liked this for a long time. I have no idea why judges in criminal cases think that it is their job to verbally shame defendants or even people who are convicted. Their punishment is their sentence, not the words of the judge.

It's even more cruel when you factor in that some folks who get convicted, or plead guilty are innocent and have their convictions overturned and the actual guilty party is found. What was the point of the judge's verbal attacks on the individual in cases like that.

I am glad a fellow judge spoke out.

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