Ohio magistrate judge Stephen Edwin Weithman has been suspended from not just the bench but any legal practice in a bizarre case where he was accused of such things as ogling a female witness in a case involving the alleged distribution of nude photos of the woman by her ex-husband. Weithman was found to have failed to comply an earlier order.
In a truly bizarre case, a jury in New York found that former judge Roger Barto lied about being attacked outside his court in 2013. The police maintained that Barto faked the attack and then collected tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs. Judge Barto was also accused in a separate case of stealing from a cemetery.
Over the years our host featured numerous articles presenting questionable, if not abusive, novel sentences for defendants convicted of crimes. Now, Smith County Texas Court Judge Randall Rogers hoisted himself to national attention for giving a man convicted of simple assault the choice between marrying his girlfriend within thirty days or going to jail.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Earlier we featured the story of the Washington Supreme Court reversing the murder conviction of Odies Walker after an attorney with the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office made inflammatory and especially prejudicial power point slides during closing arguments. Citing an unacceptably large number of reversals and substantiated accusations of Prosecutorial Misconduct and Vindictiveness, Kitsap County Superior Court Judge Jay Roof ruled that there was sufficient cause to proceed with gathering signatures for a recall election. A ruling of this nature is required under the Washington Constitution to recall an elected official.
Organizers will need to gather 39,000 signatures for the recall to be held in an election to recall County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
In a major development on the Clinton email scandal, the New York Times is reporting that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether there was mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton using a personal email account while secretary of state. While the newspaper referred to the action as a criminal referral, the Administration quickly moved to counter the story and insist that it is not technically a criminal referral. We have previously discussed this story and the insistence of Clinton that she did nothing wrong in maintaining a private email system and that none of the emails were classified. I disagreed with both premises as well as expressed great skepticism over Clinton’s insistence that she was really not trying to control her emails and insulate them from review but rather simply did not want to carry around two phones. According to the New York Times, investigators believe that Clinton’s email archive contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” Nevertheless, the Justice Department appears to be moving to counter any expectation of a criminal investigation against the former Secretary of State under Obama. We have previously discussed the special treatment historically given powerful figures in violating national security rules or practices.
I have been a critic of aspects of the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich, 58, was convicted of 18 counts of corruption and given a 14-year sentence. The most problematic charge in my view concerned Blagojevich’s wheeling and dealing for the appointment of a successor to fill the 2008 vacant U.S. Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama. Now a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has overturned five of the counts specifically dealing with that vacancy controversy.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark has caused a stir with an interview with MSNBC in which he appeared to call for the establishment of World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” Clark used the infamous American internment camps for Japanese, German, and Italian Americans as a model: “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”