Richmond Judge kicked off bench

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Way To Go!

    A judge who made a woman pull down her pants in court and decided a child-visitation dispute with a coin toss was removed from the bench yesterday.

    The Virginia Supreme Court, acting on a complaint forwarded from the state Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, ordered the removal of Judge James Michael Shull of the Wise County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

    In an opinion written by Justice Barbara Milano Keenan, the court said that Shull's misconduct shows "his disregard for the dignity of litigants appearing before him and for the dignity of the judicial process."

    According to the court, Shull had the woman pull down her pants in a December 2006 custody hearing to show a wound on her thigh that she said her estranged husband had inflicted.

    Shull told the woman he would not extend a protective order against him unless he saw the wound. The court said Shull twice told the woman to lower her pants. The second time, witnesses said, the judge left the bench and sat in the witness chair about an arm's length away from her.

    Shull, at a commission hearing in April, said he knew the woman had a history of mental illness and had engaged in self-mutilation.

    A courtroom bailiff testified at the commission hearing that, outside the courtroom after the hearing, he asked Shull if he had seen "what that lady had on?"

    "Yeah," Shull allegedly replied, "a black, lacy thong. . . . It looked good, didn't it?"

    Shull denied that exchange took place.

    The court found that during a recess in the same custody hearing, Shull made a telephone call seeking information from the hospital where the woman's wound had been treated. Under judicial procedure, both parties in the case should have taken part in such a call.

    Shull admitted that he had decided a visitation dispute by tossing a coin. But he said he meant to encourage the litigants to settle it themselves by showing them that his decision would be as random as a coin toss.

    With the coin-tossing, Shull "denigrated both the litigants and our justice system," the court said.

    "A judge's act of tossing a coin in a courtroom to decide a legal issue pending before the court suggests that courts do not decide cases on their merits but instead subject litigants to games of chance in serious matters without regard to the evidence or applicable law," the court said.

    "By directing [the woman] to lower her pants twice in the courtroom, Judge Shull ignored the dignity of a litigant who was not represented by counsel and who had a clear history of mental instability."

    Such actions by a judge "impair public confidence in the integrity of our justice system," the court said.

    Shull is only the second judge removed from the bench since the commission was created in 1971 to investigate complaints of judicial misconduct.

    The first was a Richmond judge, Harold Cobb Maurice, who sat for 34 years on what is now the General District Court. It was called simply Police Court for most of his tenure.

    Maurice retired in 1977 by agreement with federal prosecutors who were investigating the alleged illegal sale of guns, liquor and beer that had been confiscated by police.

    Months later, the Supreme Court found that Maurice had misappropriated certain confiscated items, including alcohol, and that he consumed confiscated beer with others in his office. He also allowed a friend who was a bail bondsman, Herman "Cocky" Rosenstein, to take guns from the court's evidence rooms.

    The Supreme Court stripped Maurice of his title and retirement benefits. He died in 1986.
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Now THERE is someone who has really seen JUST ABOUT ENOUGH!
  3. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    Yikes, what is this world coming to?
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am glad that someone somewhere had the sense to pull the judge out of office. This is outrageous.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I know. That's why I posted it. But there are plenty more out there just like that. Sad indeed. And outrageous.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I hope when he goes to find out if he still gets a pension they flip a two headed coin and he calls tails.

    Pedantic jerk. I was told here - that if a judge asks ANYONE in the courtroom to get him a double latte 1/2 caf, light foam with sprinkles and you don't? You could end up in jail. And it was an expert Ph.d witness that told me that.

    -This is why I did NOT go to court for difficult child. I have a mouth. I have a brain, I have courage and I'm not afraid of a crooked judge.

    EVERYONE begged me to stay home. So I did.

    This is really sad.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hope when he goes to find out if he still gets a pension they flip a two headed coin and he calls tails.

    Ooohhh, I like the way you think!
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> -This is why I did NOT go to court for difficult child. I have a mouth. I have a brain, I have courage and I'm not afraid of a crooked judge. </div></div>

    Show me a judge who isn't crooked, and I'll show you a judge who's got a lift in one shoe.
  9. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    There probably isn't enough room on the server to address all my issues with judges.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There is a judge here in OK who is in the process of being removed because he used a vacuum thingy on his penis while hearing cases. No joking. He said it was OK cause it was a medical device, but no one is buying that argument. Esp when he used it primarily in prostution cases. It is outrageous that there has to be a process, we should just toss them out into the street!!

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yikes, Susie!
  12. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    ewwwwwwwwwww to the vaccum thingy. i guess that just goes to show you that even highly educated people can be total dummies.