L.A. judge admonished for mistreating prospective jurors


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/02/trash-talking-l-a-judge-admon.html


#2

“Well, every one of these lawyers spent more than that on lunch today,”

Christ, what an asshole.

I hope he ordered a just desert!


#3

Sounds like the a-hole judge who questioned me during voir dire for a DUI case at the Long Beach location. The judge told me I was being cagey when I couldn’t provide him with a definitive answer about the legal disposition of my brother’s DUI that happened when I was 13. Anyway, I explained that it wasn’t like my brother chatted with me about his conviction, we were eight years apart and not very close. He still threatened me with contempt.


#4

This justice is blind to their own obnoxiousness.


#5

You’d think that the older you get, the less surprised you’d be that these assholes exist. And yet the older I get, the more surprised I am. How can this man not, at his age, be aware that he’s being an asshole?


#6

Imagine the life he’s lived up to now that has made such self-awareness unnecessary. When birds of a feather flock together, they don’t realize how much shit they drop underneath them.


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#7

I am so quoting that.


#8

Nearly every example of authority unchecked today results in punishments that hardly discourage the punished behavior in the first place but everyone still resists violent extrajudicial punishment.

The system isn’t broken folks, it’s designed to make you think it’s working well enough so that voices calling out for real action are drowned out by those conditioned to just go along with it because “violence is always wrong”.


#9

Birds of a feather plop together?


#10

Why was their bank account his business? I did jury service (in the UK) last year and, while the judge addressed the jury during the trial, it was as a group, not individually, and only in relation to the trial.


#11

I’d venture to say, “The system isn’t broken folks, it’s designed to make you think it’s working well enough to crush people calling out for real action, crushed as you will surely be crushed if you stand in solidarity with them.”

But I’m not feeling very optimistic today


#12

You give him far too much credit: there certainly are some socially awkward types who are obnoxious unintentionally; but being a raging asshole because the suffering of people unable to do anything about it is fun is vastly more common.

I would be utterly shocked if ‘person with high status job and substantial authority in the current context abuses and belittles their social inferiors’ happened by accident. It’s not terribly uncommon for judges to veer off into this-court-is-my-bully-pulpit even when dealing with lawyers; and somebody with $25 to their name is a much softer target. I suspect he quite enjoyed this episode, at least until word got out.


#13

I hope he gets served just ice.


#14

It could have been part of a questionnaire agreed upon by both defense and plaintiff/prosecutor-and approved by the judge-to weed out any potential biases. This could be for either criminal or civil.

I was asked to fill one out for a civil trial and there was a question about my choice of reading material. I knew exactly why they asked it when they asked if I was biased against businesses. (The Nation.)


#15

Murder trials tend to be long and if your employer doesn’t pay you for jury service, you can claim financial hardship to avoid serving on the long trial. Judges vary greatly on how they implement excusing folks… Some are hardliners, some are rather liberal in their interpretation. I recall one where it was a product liability case that would be relatively long. The judge asked those whose employers don’t reimburse them to stand up and then asked each one if a x week trial would cause them financial hardship. When he got to me, I said that it wouldn’t necessarily cause me hardship to which he replied something to the effect of “Mr R. are you financially independent? could you just not work if you wanted?” to which I replied “no” and he excused me.
The last murder trial for which I was a prospective juror (a death penalty case) took a relatively strict stance on financial hardship since it was going to be difficult to get enough jurors – they ended up calling in ~400 prospective jurors for that one.
Edit: for the murder trial, the judge called in each person who claimed financial hardship and only ended up releasing the true cases not just anybody whose employer doesn’t pay (it didn’t sound like he was a dick about it, he basically just asked if a spouse was working if one could still pay the bills otherwise let you go).


#16

Or for that reason, too. :wink:


#18

Or sand.


#19

I would be surprised and dismayed if lawyers wasted fifty bucks on a court day lunch. They’ve got a strictly limited lunch hour and can’t really drink meaningfully. Might as well stick with Chipotle or Panera.


#20

I think he was referring to the $25 bank balance that particular juror wrote down; the under $50 was a catch-all for both the jurors he ridiculed for being working poor instead of well-heeled bullies who got paid to go on power trips like him. But even so…


#21

Ah, interesting. Thanks.