Thursday December 12, 2013
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I am not the kind of person who thinks that disrespect belongs in the courtroom, but I'll report this to you as it is written and let you decide whether it was a fair thing for a judge to do.
Chad Johnson had pleaded no contest to head-butting his ex-wife and was about to seal a plea-deal that called for community service and counseling instead of jail time.
When asked by Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh if he was satisfied with his lawyer Adam Swickle, he gave the
attorney a light swat on the rear, as football players routinely do to each other on the field.
The people in the courtroom laughed.
Judge McHigh said, "I don't know that you're taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside. Is there something funny about this? The whole courtroom was laughing. I'm not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn't a joke."
Johnson tried to apologize but McHugh sent him to jail for 30 days.
And you feel?
Her power over took her good sense if she had any to begin with.
I agree with Pat! I think that judge saw a "celebrity" in her courtroom and thought that she was going to ensure that he was treated no differently than anybody else; and in so doing went way too far in the opposite direction.
As for Mr. Johnson, I think that we have all done things reflexively, that were cringe-worthy. I know that I have. I am a big "I love you-er". I never hang up the phone or depart from my husband, kids and certain family and friends without saying, I love you. Just me. I have always been that way. Growing up, same thing. Some years ago, long before I was married; I was on a date that was going really well. He was a nice guy. We had a lot in common. Great conversation. I was feeling very comfortable. We had sat in the car in front of my house for a while talking. YES!!! Just talking! This was a first date!!! Well, the hour grew late and we both had to work the next day. So, we shared a light hug and the usual end of date comments. Just as I walked in my front door, I said "bye, drive safe, love ya!!" Poor guy, got the "deer in the headlights look". I gasped, started laughing and apologized and tried to explain. Needless to say, never saw the guy again!!
For Mr. Johnson, that light butt tap was a reflex as a result of being happy or successful. He has done it on the football field for years. That Judge is drunk on her own power.
I agree with the judge in so far as that kind of display is to be left on the sports field. As judge I would have showed my disgust by increasing the community service allotment. Increasing the sentence to jail time was a bit harsh.
Have we done so well dealing with the really important stuff that you threw us a "bone" to chew on? A couple of points. I agree with Kim that the man's reaction was most likely spontaneous or reflexive. I've seen the video and that's how it appeared to me. Even if that is the case, I also agree with Mr. Franz, that when you are in a courtroom, standing before a judge, one simply has to appreciate that the judge wields and awful lot of power and it behooves one to remember that and act accordingly in such a place. Not that I have a lot of respect for what we used to refer to as "our justice system" or many of the "judges" that see themselves as somehow godly in their wisdom, but if we are ever to regain the respect for our Justice System, the system itself requires respect. Like any "respect", it has to be earned, not demanded.
How did the judge even see it? Bet she heard the laughter and ask someone what happened.
If we are going to change how things are done in the courtrooms, start with a dress code.
Women cover up. No shorts, no strapless dresses or blouses. Men and boys pull up your pants. No muscle shirts. Men need to be covered up too. No hats. No rubber thongs on anyone. That would be a good start.
"Her power over took her good sense if she had any to begin with."
"Bet she heard the laughter...."
That's exactly what they say happened. She heard the laughter and got teed off.
Of course, Ron and Fred make a good point. There has to be decorum in a court, but ask yourself this: Who was indecorous? Obviously, the people watching the case. And what, exactly, is wrong with this? Rapping your gavel and saying, "Order in the court!"
If I had the power I would summarily fire the judge, telling her, "Listen, lady, next time someone does something you don't like, tell them about it; don't abuse your position.
Frankly, if it were me I would be filing a Civil Rights suit against her. She is so obviously in violation of the First Amendment there there isn't a civil court in the nation that wouldn't fine her out of existence. Put someone in jail for 30 days for expressing his emotions in a very low key way? The woman has a brain the size of a pea.
A dried pea!
I think we are all in agreement that there was an over-reaction on the part of the judge. But what if the defendant had used another popular "sports" expression and given his lawyer a "high five"? I think a good verbal reminder about decorum while in court would have sufficed.
I agree with you, Ron, and I think any sensible person would. What if he had simply turned around and given the lawyer a handshake or a pat on the back? Your point is perfectly made.
Fine, the guy got carried away slightly, but to change what was a proper plea agreement over it was acting like a tyrant. We don't need judges like that.
I'm dead serious that I would fire her if I had the power. With someone like that you can never tell whether they are basing a decision on the law or on some petty private feeling. I know that none of us are perfect, but judges are supposed to be a cut above average when it comes to...well...exercising good judgment.
The defendant in this story has stated on the internet that he actually Thanks the judge for how she dealt with him . I may be making a stretch here but I'd bet good money that his agent gave him a good talking to and is closely directing that man's actions as we speak. A professional athletic career is a terrible thing to waste.
That's interesting, Ron.
His comment is just about the most self-serving piece of crap I've heard in a long time. Contrast it with the letter in Tuesday's paper from someone who sounded like she was genuinely thankful that the system intervened and put here away in a place where she could get a new lease on life.
There was a time when I was a sports fan. I can remember in high school, my last year, the day when our fullback ran for the winning touchdown with a broken hip, and fell flat on his face as he crossed the goal line.
That was what sports once was: Giving all you had.
It's a little different now: Getting all you can.
I put the blame directly on coaches at every level, from the bottom up, who are out to enhance their own careers instead of teaching what sports are supposed to be all about. To put it in one one word: Sportsmanship.
They might as well take the word out of the language where sports are concerned.
Here's what it means: When Benedict Arnold, who wasn't even supposed to be in the fight, and had no command that day, led a victory charge at Saratoga, rallying the retreating Americans and leading them back into battle, thereby saving the day in a battle which was otherwise lost, he paid a heavy price. He was shot by a Prussian soldier who fired and hit the brave American officer leading his troops into battle. Lying wounded on the battlefield as one of his troops started to bayonet the Prussian, Arnold raised his arm and said, "Don't harm the poor man. He was only doing his duty."
Although Arnold saved the day, the credit for the victory, the turning point of the war, was given to General Gates, an inept soldier who had refused to listen to Arnold before the battle, and had in fact relieved him of duty even though was he was saying would happen if Gates did not change his strategy was exactly correct. Had the battle gone to the British the colonies would have been cut right in two, separated into the North and the South, and the Revolution would have ended.
Arnold could have simply stayed out of the fight, let Gates be shown to be the poor soldier he was, let and had the satisfaction of having everyone know that he had been right. He didn't. He chose to fight for his country because he put country ahead of self.
British General Burgoyne's campaign to divide New England from the southern colonies had gone well, though it had slowed due to supply problems. He won a clear victory over General Gates and the Continental Army a few days earlier, and had he won the second battle he would have connected up with the British in New York City as planned. Supplied with men and arms from Canada and through the port of New York, the British could not have dislodged.
What did Arnold get for his trouble? He got passed over for men with less courage and ability.
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