Muni-mail – Reprimand for Judge who screamed at pro se Mom – In re Baker

[06/19/11 – 12:18 am] On Friday, the New Jersey Supreme Court officially reprimanded a Superior Court Judge for engaging in a screaming tirade in open court directed at a pro se female litigant. The tirade was characterized as “repugnant and offensive” and a “vicious and unjustified attack” by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC). The repirmand came about following an ACJC review of the audio recording of the judge’s abuse of the litigant. The transcript, in part, revealed a colloquy that included the following:

THE COURT: Well, ma’am, let me tell you something.
MS. P.: I do.
THE COURT: You need some serious help.
MS. P.: Okay.
THE COURT: Because you have no clue what it is to be a
parent.
MS. P.: Okay. [My child’s father] has a severe mental illness.
THE COURT: Ma’am, keep your mouth quiet. When I talk,
you listen. Don’t you dare talk back to me. I don’t know who
you think you’re talking to, but you do not dare talk back to
me. You understand that?
MS. P.: Yes.
THE COURT: Then obey it. I’m not some friend of yours
out on the street. I’m a Superior Court judge that demands the
respect of my position, and you will give it to me. And you
will not convince me that it’s okay for your daughter to go
spend time with strangers, but can’t with her own father,
because you know what you forgot? Let me remind you. There’s
only one reason why he’s her father, that’s the decision you
made.
MS. P.: And i t was a bad one.
THE COURT: Ma’am – – so, what does that tell me about
your judgment? If you made a bad decision choosing him as a
father, why should I believe anything about your judgment today?
Well, you just admitted, you’ve got bad judgment.

Download a copy of the Presentment returned by the ACJC in In re Baker.

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Category: Muni-Mail Archive