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Judge’s photo-op ill-timed – also possibly unethical

By September 14, 2003Uncategorized

Overlawyered had a post about the $51.4 million verdict here in New Orleans involving a street car injuring a young girl. The lead plaintiff’s lawyer was none other than limelight seeking Johnny Cochran, who graciously posed for pictures with the jury after the verdict. If that’s all that happened it would have been perhaps only unseemly; but when the judge joined in the picture taking session in the hallway outside the courtroom “unseemly” might have turned into “unethical.”

Funny, that the word “unethical” should come up. Judge C. Hunter King appeared before the State Supreme Court this past week to plead for a limited suspension of one year (as opposed to permanent removal from the bench). His prior transgression was that he made his staff work on his campaign, and then when a complaint was lodged against him he lied and said he hadn’t forced his staff to do campaign work. A staff member happened to have recorded a conversation with the judge which flatly contradicted the judge’s claim, and he then admitted that he had forced his staff to campaign. Or as local columnist James Gill puts it

“King has admitted coercing his staff into raising money for his re-election, and threatening to make them pay out of their own pockets if they fell short. He fired a court reporter who didn’t co-operate, and then he lied under oath to the Judiciary Commission when she fingered him.”

This transgression came to light (including the part about lying) back in May, but Judge King was still allowed to continue to sit on the bench to hear select cases, including the one that Johnny Cochran tried. You would think that he would have learned his lesson and kept a low profile, at least until after the Supreme Court decided his fate. Apparently not. Which is interesting, because his excuse (er, explanation) to the Supreme Court for his behavior was that he had a “lapse of judgment” and that he has done a lot of “soul searching” and now he’s a changed man.

Apparently he doesn’t see any problem with having his photograph taken with Cochran and the jurors outside his courtroom, though. Okay, let’s be frank. This man doesn’t suffer from “lapses of judgment.” He doesn’t have any judgment to begin with. And judgment is sort of important for people who hold the office of “judge.” So it will be interesting to see what the Louisiana Supreme Court does. To me it’s a no-brainer.

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  • John Mattingly says:

    I am writing this letter for my mother, she is a senior citizen in her late seventies and her story needs to be told. If it wasn’t bad enough that her son assumed her identity and with the help of a local business man secured a large loan from a national bank, now she is being denied her “day in court’ by the States Attorney of St. Marys County. Mrs. Mattingly became aware of this only after being contacted by the office of Planning and Zoning regarding a complaint about construction that was being done on the property. It was suggested by the Federal Reserve Bank to report it to the Maryland State Police, which she did. The State Police conducted their investigation and concluded that indeed someone had forged her name on a number of documents that qualified her for this loan that she neither solicited or would ever be able to repay. The State Police then turned it over to the States Attorney where it has remained for about two years now. Mrs. Mattinglys’ credit has been destroyed, this affects her emotionally and physically on a daily basis, and now she is being displaced from her home which she has a Lifetime Estate. Because of the involvement of a local attorney and the local businessman there are no attorneys in the county who can help her (they all say it would be a conflict of interest). Mrs. Mattingly has obtained consul but he says that he is getting no co-operation from the court system, he reports that there are numerous documents that are missing or just omitted from the file in the County Clerks Office. She really needs some help from someone of authority outside of St. Marys County.

    Lucille Mattingly21885 Newtown Neck RoadCompton MD. 20627301 475-2298

  • MEF says:

    It is the responsibility of the Judge to be as fair as possible for the defendant. It is so easy to get caught up in the trap of simply taking the cops word first alwaysthinking cops never lie. Most don’tits still predjudicially incorrect.When police are allowed to slack off its actually deminishes thereperformace capabilities. Bad cops get good cops killed. Then there s always the classic response, what are we supposed to do let criminals get off because of a technicallity, Yes, why? because this will make better smarter police. Same goes for ther chief.They have a job where 9 out of 10 is not could enough. Every individual case is someones life.Police when they do lie or shape the report is because of the unbelievable stress and pressure put upon them. Please remember they are people to. To the judges and the Chiefs and Sheriffs, demand all who where the badge toremember what it means, Protect & Serve.Not punish and persecute, It is not there work to make money for the city or conviction rates. Protect the people they will reward higher pay and respect,Criminals understand when they are locked away if they at least know that it was fair, not simplybecause they were told sorry thats just the way it is, That isif one can not afford to pay forjustice. Thanks you. !

  • Tim A says:

    A judge with no judgement!! Good one.

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