Angry Judge Makes A Fist Of The Law
When a judge invites a defence lawyer to step outside the courtroom to settle a legal argument with their fists, it shows anger problems aren’t limited to those in the dock.
It happened for real earlier this month. Exchanges had been getting more and more heated between the judge and the defence lawyer resisting pressure from the judge for a quick trial.
“If I had a rock, I would throw it at you right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down,” the judge roared from the bench. When the lawyer said he had a legal right to stand and defend his client, the judge snapped.
“If you want to fight, let’s go out back and I’ll just beat your ass,” the judge shouted to a shocked courtroom as he stormed out the door.
The defence lawyer followed the judge out of the courtroom. Once they were in the hallway the judge grabbed the lawyer and began punching him in the head. The lawyer tried to ward off the blows until court guards pulled the judge off him.
Breathing heavily the judge returned to his chair before excusing himself for the rest of the day. All this happened – you probably already guessed it – in the United States. The Florida chief judge put out a statement saying the brawling judge would take leave and undergo anger management counseling.
Judges in many parts of the USA are elected by the public, which – in a land where only half the people bother voting for their president – can result in some odd people sitting in judgement on their fellow citizens.
Such an incident is highly unlikely in Australia where judges are carefully selected by the executive government. Our judges have more subtle means to beat down pesky legal eagles and they can – and often do – order that offenders attend anger management counseling.
There’s a wide variety of laws in Australia that you could fall foul of in a moment of anger – including recent ‘road rage’, ‘one punch’ and ‘anti-bullying’ laws. So if you’re prone to an angry outburst, anger management counseling is an option you might like to consider before you do something you regret or get yourself in trouble with the law, like the above Florida judge. More information is available through the Australian Psychological Society (www.psychology.org.au).