Now THIS Is An Unethical Judge…

judge_mccree

No, the judge in question is not the Honorable Wade McCree, the handsome devil pictured above, who, you may recall from an earlier post here, recently escaped a suit for damages by the husband of the women he was banging like his gavel during—literally during, in some instances— the gentleman’s trial for not paying spousal support. That unethical judge was removed from the bench and suspended, but also protected from being sued by the principle of judicial immunity.

Ex-judge McCree is a disgrace, but this judge is something else. Judges are, reasonably enough,  required not to break the law themselves, and also to conduct themselves in such a way that the public’s confidence and trust in the judicial system and judges overseeing it are not undermined. I would argue that taking narcissitic selfies like the one above and distributing it shakes such confidence, but you know what an old poopie-head I am about such things. I am confident, however, that I am not being a poopie head when I conclude that the public has reason to have doubts about the, ah, judgment of…

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Lance Mason, who was removed from his duties after a jury indicted him of felonious assault, kidnapping, child endangering and domestic violence. He was arrested earlier this month after an incident in which he punched his wife in the face several times, bit her and choked her, all while driving on Van Aken Boulevard in Cleveland…. with their children in the backseat!  She was hospitalized with numerous injuries. Thoughts:

  • Mason may not an ideal judicial temperment, but he’s one hell of a skillful driver.
  • Ah, what tales the kids will be able to tell Mason’s grandchildren some day!
  • If he were an NFL player rather than a judge, he’d only be suspended two games.
  • Judge Mason can be sued, because he wasn’t serving in his judicial capacity while he was strangling and biting his wife while driving the car. Now that would have been a trick worthy of “America’s Got Talent.”

Actually, unlike Ray Rice, though Judge Mason is suspended pending the results of his trial, he will still collect his $121,000 annual salary while the case is pending in court, including appeals, so he is getting, in effect, a long paid vacation, which it certainly sounds as if he needs. Badly.

11 thoughts on “Now THIS Is An Unethical Judge…

  1. I’m still trying to figure out where it says in the Constitution that judges can give themselves absolute immunity.

    If they hurt us while wearing a robe, it’s okay, but if they punch us while driving a car, it’s not?

    I’d be okay with it if the government was responsible for the injury, but why isn’t that Congress’s call?

    • The President is immune from citizen law suits based on his official duties. Congress members cannot be sued either. The Judiciary, in respect for the Separation of Powers, was given the ability to police itself by Congress, and it gave itself the same immunity the other branches have. Common law confers “sovereign immunity,” which means the government can’t be sued without its consent. It isn’t in the Constitution, but the courts have always agreed that it was assumed. There have been lots of attempts to get the SCOTUS to deny it. Now it is entrenched by precedent.

      I’m pretty sure a judge that punched you while robed wouldn’t have such immunity, because that would be outside any official duty.

      This is a good paper on the topic.

      • In general, to be liable to suit for damages, you need to be accused of a tort.

        Judicial rulings are not torts. therefore, a judge issuing a wrong-headed ruling can not be sued for damages on that basis because the definition of tort excludes judicial rulings.

        (Judges still can be sued in their official capacities for equitable relief.)

        • The tort wasn’t the ruling itself, but the judge’s robbing the defendant of his due process rights by handling the case while having a blatant, unavailable, disqualifying conflict. The 6th Circuit seemed to think it was a valid tort claim, absent the immunity.

          • I have been doing research into that, and it seems that Justice Brandeis’s dissent in Burnet v. Coronado Oil is the gold standard. It is not the fact of the precedent, but the strength of the reasoning, that determines the stare decisis effect of a decision.

            To suggest that the President is immune from suit for even willful violations of our rights is to say that the Bill of Rights does not exist. All the Bill does is stay the hand of the government (and its agents), and if the government can do whatever it wants anyway, then the Bill is not worth the parchment it is printed on.

            As you live in Virginia, you are constantly reminded by your state seal that it is always lawful to kill a tyrant. If the law provides no remedy for a wrong, does this sanction the use of lethal force against tyrannical governmental officials? That was the argument of Thomas Jefferson, as he explained in his Notes on the State of Virginia. The law has to provide victims effective remedies because natural law authorizes self-help. Therefore, we should interpret the Constitution in such a way as to provide those remedies.

            Sovereign and official immunities are both examples of judges exercising a veto power over the Constitution. I ask again: “Where in Article III do they find that power?”

            • You are just wrong about precedent. It is considered very rare to overturn established precedent, and is a rule of jurisprudence that it must be judged clearly and almost unarguably wrong to do so, otherwise the nation can’t depend on the law.That is why stare decisus prevails, and must.

      • The counter-argument is expressed by Erwin Chemerinsky in a law review article entitled Against Sovereign Immunity. I won’t provide a cite because it’s easily googled, but I find that his is by far the stronger argument, based on my simple argument below.

        • There are lots of arguments against judicial immunity, almost all of them from non-judges. I quizzed a group of DC judges about it, and several of them said they would resign on the spot if it were eliminated.

          I respect the dean’s scholarship, but I seldom see eye-to-eye with him om ethical matters. This is another example.

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