Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Judge Vonda Evans Lays Down The Law

One of my relatives sent me this video. One of his pet peeves is judges who lecture or insult people, usually defendants. I do have friends and relatives who are attorneys. Some of them spend or have spent time in trials. I would not have their patience in dealing with judges who are occasionally sanctimonious, patronizing, insulting, condescending and almost always bossy. I don't like bossy people or appreciate imperative tones. I don't like people who think they can speak to me any old way. But this is the way our justice system is set up. Could it be any other way. When someone has the power to find you guilty or not, to sentence you fairly or not, and to put you in jail for no other reason than you got on their nerves and showed them contempt, then the wisest move for you, whether you are defendant, attorney, court worker or court spectator, is to tread lightly and keep a civil tongue in your head. Telling the judge "F*** you!" is usually not going to improve your prospects, no matter which role you currently happen to be playing in the court. 

Judge Vonda Evans scolded a man charged in a criminal sexual conduct case who swore at her in a Detroit courtroom. Anthony Thornton yelled "f--- you" at Evans during the trial Friday, and she responded to the outburst during the proceedings. "Be quiet!" Evans said. "Take him back. Take him out! Take him out now! ... I’m not even going to dignify that comment!"

Thornton was led out of the court room. Evans then explained he would be found not guilty of the kidnapping charge, but would be found guilty of criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment. Thornton, 46, of Port Huron, met a woman on April 20, 2010, at the Coalition of Temporary Shelter homeless shelter in Detroit. She went with him and two other men to an abandoned house to drink and smoke, police said.

Police said that when the woman tried to leave, Thornton and the other men held her down and took turns raping her. The woman had a rape kit collected, but the kit wasn't processed until March 20, 2015. A combined DNA Index System hit identified Thornton as a suspect in the case, police said.

Thornton is also accused of overpowering and raping a woman on March 8, 2011, at his friend's home in Detroit. Police said the woman was invited to the home by Thornton's friend, but when she arrived, Thornton was the only person there.

Some people think that judges should stay above it all and never let any personal irritation intrude into their dealings with the public. Yeah, well they should but they don't. And I can't think of too many authority figures that are going to let anyone get away with saying "F*** you!" to them. Judge Evans does have a certain reputation for rhetorical flourishes. But she appears to hand them out without regard for race, creed, gender or other inborn characteristic. If the people don't like her lecturing a just convicted rapist then they are free to elect another person to her seat in 2020. I believe that Judge Evans is the judge who will give the sentence but even if she is not Thornton's outburst was unwise. I saw nothing wrong with Judge Evans' statements.

Were you upset with the Judge's tone, demeanor or statement?

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