Friday, October 27, 2006

Judge Leslie Lewis, Overreactor

As the mother of two toddlers, I'm rather used to overreactions to events. Mercy barely touches Ezra, he falls down and says, "Don't push me, Mercy!"--that sort of thing. Comes with the territory of raising little kids.

It doesn't usually come with the territory of being a judge. Not dealing with the overreactions of others (although I'm sure there is a lot of that), but actually being the one doing the overreacting.

From the Deseret News:
The hunting-community controversy stems from a February hearing on a third-degree felony count of wanton destruction of protected wildlife filed against Michael Jacobson. In the hearing, Lewis was recusing herself from the case because of her personal bias against deer hunting. While expressing her views, Lewis confronted Jacobson with questions of how he feels while shooting a deer. Jacobson's brother, Kent Jacobson, stood up to leave the courtroom. Lewis ordered a bailiff to bring him back into the courtroom.
"Now, why did you feel the need to make such an explosive and clear indication of your displeasure or boredom at being here?" Lewis asked.
Kent Jacobson responded: "OK, it's not just the displeasure of being bored here. The problem is, is we have just as much rights of going out and shooting deer as you have the right ..." He was then cut off by Lewis.
"What are you talking about?" she injected, and then ordered that he be arrested and sent to a holding cell.
Court records show Lewis recused herself and sent the case to Judge Dino Himonas, who ordered Michael Jacobson to pay $2,500 in restitution and to give up his hunting rights for two years.

If you watch the video (posted on YouTube), Kent Jacobson was extremely respectful and very cordial. At no time did he lose his temper--although according to a SL Tribune article (no link, sorry), he left because he didn't want to make a scene.

I agree that judges should keep order in their courtroom, but, to me, she clearly overreacted and overreached her authority. Perhaps this is a one-off--maybe she was just having a really bad day. Still, when someone is in a position of authority, of public trust, this kind of thing is clearly inappropriate. We need to decide if we can trust her to never do this kind of thing again--or else I don't think that she should be retained.


Anonymous said...

see, this is not a single event. She has been diciplined twice formally. She will not change.

Anonymous said...

I think we're forgetting that Judge Lewis is under investigation for misconduct as well. This will make a total of three times that she has been before the Judiciary Conduct Committee. I have personally been in her court on more than one occasion and to be quite honest, her behavior was outrageous to say the least. She was not impartial, she refused to let opposing council present a case and she demeaned,and belittled witnesses. She told witnesses that they were worthless and that the testimony that they ultimately were not allowed to give would be worthless. You can not have a fair trial if both sides are not allowed to present a case. That isn't what our justice system is about. It isn't what America is about.

Anonymous said...

As a victim of Judge Lewis biased antics, I feel for anyone who has been before her and tried to make a case when she didn't want to hear it. She actually threatened me with jail and told me how attractive the inmates would find me. I was never allowed to present my side. My family and I have been scarred for life in many ways by this woman. Good to see Utah throw her out! I have been telling people to vote her out for years! Hooray!

Anonymous said...

My personal friend is a lawyer, and told me that every time he has had contact with (now former) Judge Lewis in the courtroom, she has been ascerbic, and that she has shown clear bias on several occasions. Well done, Salt Lake County voters!

Shad said...

It felt good to vote that lady out. Unfortunately - there are many (although not as blatant as "Leslie" - sorry I can't call her former Judge Lewis - that's too respectable a title)in positions of authority (police, government, etc.) who take on this "holier than thou attitude". The people need to speak up for this type of behaviour, and think goodness for the internet and streaming video - the word gets out faster then ever.

Anonymous said...

I too was a victim of Leslie's biases. My family will never be the same again because of her biases.

I can only tell anyone reading that it was like christmas for me the night that she got voted out. I stayed up as late as I could refreshing the poll listings. At 2:00am when 99% had reported and she was still 14000 Votes behind being retained I just cried. I am so thrilled that people have the good sense to get rid of someone so awful.

If a judge is removed, is there any way to go back and have your case relooked at if it is 'fresh'?

Anonymous said...

At a hearing where we where the victims Ms.Lewis also treated us like we were the offender. We did all we could to keep from offending her during the proceedings. We knew that a day would come where she would be held accountable and commend all who brought about a halt to her using the system for her own prejudices