5 Shockingly Crazy Judges Who Presided Over Modern Courts
Most of us, if accused of a crime, aren't crazy about having our fate decided by a jury (as the old joke goes, it's a dozen people who weren't clever enough to get out of jury duty). But the judge is a different story -- these are seasoned, esteemed experts in the law who have earned their robes by proving their knowledge and impartiality.
Well, most of the time. Sometimes you wind up with one who, let's just say, doesn't inspire as much confidence ...
Judge Sends Courtroom Sexts (and Has Courthouse Sex)
A picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of telling you what sort of thing Judge Wade McCree did, we suppose we should just show you:
A few inches down and we'd have seen his gavel.
Yes, the Detroit judge texted his way to infamy when he sent a shirtless photo of himself to one of his female bailiffs. To give a sense of the kind of guy we're dealing with, consider that McCree, who also handles sexual misconduct cases, brushed aside the impropriety of his actions with this brazen reply: "Yep, that's me. No shame in my game." And that's just the beginning for the self-proclaimed "king of latex."
When one Geniene La'Shay Mott entered McCree's courtroom to settle a child support dispute, McCree resolved to enter her. After securing a lunch date with Mott through one of her hearings, McCree began a 20-week affair with Mott, during which he used his position on the bench to get nookie in his judge's chambers, assist Mott's relatives in lowering their bond, and, according to Mott, get her pregnant. All while he was still presiding over her case.
"'Your honor'? I barely knew 'er!"
For a moment it seemed that all was not completely lost for McCree, who had an ace down his pants in the form of a psychiatrist who said that McCree suffers from hypomania. That's a mental condition that could explain the judge's overly confident statements (which, to be honest, sound kind of awesome) and rash behavior. The commission deciding his fate, however, saw it otherwise, suspending McCree without pay.
But hey, at least he didn't whip out his dick on the bench. Which brings us to ...
Judge Jerks His Junk During Trials
Yes, Oklahoma Judge Donald Thompson violated what has to be one of the first two or three rules they teach you in judge school when he was caught exposing himself during court proceedings. And no, this wasn't just a one-time jerk-and-work -- according to court reporter Lisa Foster, Thompson exposed himself at the bench at least 15 different times between 2001 and 2003. And on at least four other occasions, he used a penis pump.
If we wanted judges to keep it covered, we'd make them wear pants.
To make things extra awkward, this all occurred during jury trials, which means that while attempting to focus on evidence, jurors were being serenaded by the wet whoosh of a handy-dandy dick plunger. One such case involved a man on trial for child murder. Disturbingly, Thompson was heard pleasuring the old flesh gavel every day of those proceedings. When confronted by jurors about the noise, the judge denied hearing it at all, likely because the intensity of his mechanized fapping had dulled all his other senses.
Once caught, the judge attempted to dismiss the claims as a friendly misunderstanding, explaining that the pump was a gag gift that he innocently toyed with during hearings, not some secret pleasure device (not that it could have been much of a secret with all that goddamned noise). However, Thompson had been so ballsy with his stroke-a-thons that he failed to hide his love pump from the prying eyes of a policeman during a fateful murder trial.
This surprised Thompson, who'd heard that justice was blind.
During a lunch break, officers photographed the courtroom crime scene, and a subsequent investigation of Thompson's robes, carpet, chair, and desk yielded semen. Police had hit the jackpot, earning this crazy chronic masturbator a four-year prison sentence.
Multiple Judges Pulled Guns from the Bench
We have to admit, being a judge probably means constantly wishing you could circumvent all the convoluted legal crap and just whip out a gun. In fact, it's mostly the ability to resist that impulse that qualifies a person to be a judge in the first place. But don't tell that to Florida judge J. Leonard Fleet, who pulled a .38-caliber revolver on a defendant when the man made unruly comments in the courtroom.
His Second Amendment right.
To be fair, those comments were "If I had a gun, I'd kill that judge." Still, a calmer, saner man would have responded to the remark by charging the guy with contempt of court and getting him out of the room. But Judge Fleet was neither a sane nor a calm man. Witnesses reported seeing him place a single bullet in the chamber before uttering, "There's one bullet in the cylinder. Do you want to take your best shot? If you're going to take a shot, you had better score, because I don't miss." Then he calmly left the loaded gun on the bench for the rest of the morning session, just so everyone would realize he was batshit insane.
Clearly Fleet's courtroom theatrics were out of line, but this was back in the lawless days of 1992 (and it was Florida), so we can maybe give him a pass. We certainly wouldn't find that kind of behavior going on in 2013. It did, however, occur in 2012. In what was perhaps the world's worst attempt at advice-giving, Georgia judge David Barrett pulled his gun on a witness when he decided her testimonial skills were lacking. "You might as well shoot your lawyer," he suggested.
"If brandishing guns and threatening lawyers is against the law, throw my ass in jail."
We should have mentioned that this woman was testifying as a victim of sexual assault and that her assailant once held a gun to her head. As you probably imagine, Barrett's behavior did not sit well with the other judges, and an inquiry, complete with finger-wagging, followed. The judge, apparently unable to take being in the hot seat himself, opted to resign rather than face continued scrutiny over his disastrous communicative style.
Judge Cynthia Brim Is Clinically and Unstoppably Insane
In 2012, the Chicago Tribune complained to its readership that Cook County voters had once again elected Cynthia Brim to serve as a judge, which seems like a petty thing for a big-time newspaper to do. After all, this is how democracy works -- sometimes the people you don't like get elected by the masses. What was so awful about Cynthia Brim?
Did she hack the Tribune paywall?
How about multiple hospitalizations, courtroom meltdowns, a 5-mile freedom march to protest unfair news coverage, and refusing to take necessary antipsychotic drugs, for starters? Not to mention that she's been found legally insane in a court of law, unaccountable in court for shoving a deputy because at the time she was allegedly "absolutely psychotic in the sense of not having the ability to think straight or to even organize her thinking or to really remember a darn thing that happened." In short, it would appear that Cynthia Brim is unmistakably unqualified for another six-year stint as a Cook County judge.
You may be wondering what arcane trickery is duping Cook County voters into dopily choosing a patient from Nurse Ratched's ward to decide court cases. It's basically the same ball-tripping hallucinogenic that turns every city into a rubber room: complacency and politics.
Things only look like they're moving, brah.
See, not a single judge in Cook County has been replaced in more than two decades, and as the Chicago Tribune noted in the complaint no one read, voters received robocalls from the county board president instructing them to vote for every Democratic judge on the ballot. Voters mechanically obeyed (do YOU follow every judge election on the ballot?) and thus swept the crazy lady back into office along with the rest. A job for which she will be paid $182,000 a year.
The Judge Who Knew Jack Shit About Law
The various strikes against Georgia judge Kenneth E. Fowler are almost too numerous to list. Among the most astounding failures cited by a judicial commission was a consistent failure to grasp the most basic legal concepts, which often, for instance, resulted in him proclaiming defendants guilty until proven innocent. The judge was also notoriously inappropriate with language, drawing fire from the NAACP for racially charged language and raising eyebrows with such poetic flourishes as, "God damn, you asking for trouble" and "Shut up."
"You don't like me calling you 'colored'? Then why call yourselves the 'NAACP'?"
When a female defendant sat before him over a traffic violation, the judge insinuated that she used sex to escape punishment, saying, "You must have really turned it on. You must be something good. You must have really showed [the officer] a good time."
Fowler also appeared to have no concept of evidence, allegedly convicting people without testimony and with as little evidence as the notes on a traffic ticket. He also told defendants they could buy their way out of community service by paying him a fee, an option curiously absent from the law.
He kept the proceeds in his community chest.
Fowler's defense for all of this? He was acting out of ignorance. After all, he never studied law.
The judges presiding over his trial were unmoved by the rather circular defense that Fowler was incompetent by reason of incompetence and threw the book at him (too bad he couldn't read it). The court fined, disbarred, and banned him for life. See? You can't get away with shit like this. Well, you can for a while -- Fowler was a judge for almost a decade before he finally got the boot.
Related Reading: Oh, these aren't the only terrible judges we've managed to collect. This guy threatened to jail an entire courtroom because of one dude's phone. And this lady dedicated her career to making the Bronx more dangerous. Before you get all high and mighty yourself, read about the stupid things YOU use to judge people and wash it down with a humble pie milkshake.
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