Judge Jacqueline Hatch of Coconino County is under fire for her advice to a woman sexually abused by an off-duty police officer about visiting bars and “blaming others” for such problems. Hatch has now apologized for the advice that she gave the victim of officer Robb Gary Evans.
After sentencing Evans to probation (he was later fired as an officer), Hatch proceeded to offer some advice to the victim. She reportedly told the woman that “If you wouldn’t have been there that night, none of this would have happened to you.” Hatch explained that the woman should not even go to a grocery store after 10 pm without understanding the obvious dangers, let alone a bar. She added her own mother’s advice that “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”
I have long been a critic of the loss of professionalism on our courts in the age of faux courtroom shows like Judge Judy and Judy Brown. Judges increasingly seem to yield to the desire to use their courtrooms to dispense their own forms of improvised justice or homegrown advice.
Hatch has since apologized: “As a Coconino County Superior Court judge, it is my responsibility to ensure that all victims and defendants are treated fairly and in a respectful manner in the courtroom. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously. I also believe victims should not be blamed for coming forward to report crimes.”
The unnamed victim accepted the apology and thanked the public for the support that they showed in the controversy.