Pennsylvania Judge Vacates Order and Apologizes After Anti-Greek Tirade

collJudge Michael Coll of Delaware, Pennsylvania has vacated a child support order and apologized after a bizarre exchange with a party and his lawyer. Coll seemed intent on commenting on the Greek heritage of Kostas “Gus” Hartas despite repeated objections by his lawyer. To the credit of his lawyer, he continued to object as Coll demanded to be able to establish that “Greeks never pay taxes.” No doubt he will now warn his colleagues to beware of Greeks bearing lawyers.

Coll asked Kostas “Gus” Hartas if he was “of Greek background,” during Hartas’ hearing for past due child support. Hartas answered in the affirmative. This exchange followed:

Coll: Right, the Greeks never pay taxes.

Lawyer: Objection.

Coll: That’s why their country—

Lawyer: Objection.

Coll: Is in bankruptcy.

Lawyer: Objection.

Coll: So can I take judicial note of the fact that the Greeks are in bankruptcy as a nation and one of the reasons, the principal reason is because none of them ever pay taxes?

Lawyer: Your Honor, I object to lumping my client in with the entire country of Greece.

I am fairly confident that the lawyer prepared for various possible issues except for an effort to tie his client to the national economic crisis and membership in the European Union of the nation of Greece.

Coll later apologized and insisted “My language does not accurately reflect my feelings about the Greek community. I regret the language I used during the hearing.”

Coll was elected to the Court in 2003 and is a graduate of Villanova University and Villanova Law School.

Coll wisely (though belatedly) vacated the child support order and ordered a hearing with a new judge. However, it might have been interesting if further litigation would end up in front of District Court Judge Harry Karapalides. I expect he pays his taxes too.

215px-My_Big_Fat_Greek_Wedding_movie_posterThis may in the end be all over compensation. After all, in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (one of my favorite movies), Gus Portokalos declares “There are two kinds of people – Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek.”

Source: ABA Journal

16 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Judge Vacates Order and Apologizes After Anti-Greek Tirade”

  1. So what is the ethnic heritage of the judge? It would be easy to respond to the dork in the next case. If the judge is Irish then one could respond: “Yeah judge my client is Greek and almost as dumb as the Micks who reside around here. Went in dumb, come out dumb too. Went to Villinova in his alligator shoes.”

  2. Every racist who is having so much fun blaming “lazy” Greeks for the economy probably also still believes that Iraq had WMD’s or that Iran was building nuclear weapons. Being a dupe of the 1% and corporate media is so much fun, until the same Banker corruption crashes our already equally in debt USA. It’s so ironic that Germany has now used the same corrupt banking practices they once blamed on Jews to finally rule Europe.

    Some day people will start thinking, asking how can a world with unprecedented technological productive potential be drowning in debt? And when they learn the reason is that we have allowed our money supplies to be created out of thin air as DEBT for the power and profit of private banks we’ll finally have monetary reform that restores the prosperity of the Free-Enterprise system,

    “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
    — Henry Ford

  3. It is especially troubling when a judge, doctor, police officer, or similar official betrays the public trust.

    In the meantime, the mother of the child loses out while this SNAFU has caused further delay in collecting back due child support.

  4. The worst thing this judge has going for him is that he looks like Chris Christie’s brother.

    I don’t think he should have lumped the man in with the whole country of Greece. That’s bad logic. At least he had the self awareness to recuse and get a new judge. Better late than never.

  5. “Like 49% of the people in this country who live off the 51% of working Americans supporting their lazy butts! Get a job! …Obama encourages it with all of the foreign work visas he allows, which take jobs from American citizens. ”

    So … 49% of Americans are lazy because they lost their jobs when Obama granted work visas to foreigners??? That’s the ticket. That makes perfect sense.

  6. “OOOPAH!” I love Greeks. One of my best friends is married to a Greek w/ the same last name as this guy. My friend notes that whenever he’s introduced to male and family and friends @ weddings, funerals, etc. they are almost all “Nick” or “Gus.”

    This judge could have said “Greeks love to smoke.” Greece has the highest per capita consumption of tobacco in the world.

  7. “impartiality on the bench

    Oh, no problem.
    Thankfully, the current DOJ jettisoned that long ago.
    Political prosecutions (see Wisconsin), anti-BadWhiteMale sex college courts, IRS targeting the justly hated conservatives, and ignoring the crimes of friends (e.g., illegal immigrants and Hillary, PBUH).

    Now the Constitution is fluid and responsive to the desires of its users!

  8. Judicial ‘temperamental’, lol. Bringing up the ethnicity or nationality of someone he is sentencing? It’s beyond political correctness, it has to do with possible prejudice he may hold against that particular ethnicity or heritage. That really should be pretty evident.

  9. Lisa N

    Surely, you jest. You truly believe that a judge, before whom you are appearing, has a right to ask you about your ancestral heritage, using that background as a basis to make disparaging comments about you, personally, in a court of law? You can’t possibly be serious. Imagine someone with a German-sounding name being asked in open court if he/she–based exclusively upon the sound of that person’s name–was, in fact, a Nazi? How about asking someone of Japanese decent whether or not one of his/her relatives was involved in the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Like most Americans, my relatives hail from various European countries. Am I now personally accountable for the politics and economic stability of those countries when I appear before a judge regarding child support? This isn’t about political correctness, as you so incorrectly alluded to in your comment. I’ll chalk this one up to you not having had your morning cup of coffee.

  10. He was right about Greece not paying their taxes. Like 49% of the people in this country who live off the 51% of working Americans supporting their lazy butts! Get a job!

    Obama encourages it with all of the foreign work visas he allows, which take jobs from American citizens.

    Political correctness be damned! I don’t care if what a judge says offends me or anyone else, he has the right to say it.



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