Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is how Republics fall apart.
Remember the classic scene from “And Justice for All,” in which Al Pacino, playing Baltimore defense lawyer Arthur Kirkland, gets dragged away in cuffs after a lengthy courtroom outburst? (”You’re out of order! You’re out of order! This whole trial’s out of order!”)
We were reminded of that scene today when we stumbled across a situation down in D.C. involving a kerfuffle between a judge and lawyer. Last week, the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure determined that D.C. Superior Court Judge John Bayly Jr. violated the code of judicial conduct when he ordered a public defender, Liyah Brown, to be shackled and detained after an argument. Here’s the story, from the Legal Times.
According to the story, trial transcripts reveal that the incident began when the public defender told the judge that her client was “a homeless man.”
“I don’t know that he is,” responded Bayly. An argument broke out, and Bayly told Brown to “be quiet” and sit down.
When Brown failed to quiet down, Bayly called on a U.S. marshal to “[s]tep her back, please. Step her back.” Brown was then handcuffed, subjected to a pat-down search and held in a cell with misdemeanor defendants for about 45 minutes.
The commission determined that Bayly violated the code of conduct that says a “judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity.” According to the commission, Bayly has accepted the commission’s conclusion and recognized his violation. He also wrote a note to Brown apologizing for his actions.