Saturday, July 29, 2017

Judge For Yourself

"Tennessee judge, under fire, pulls offer to trade shorter jail sentences for vasectomies" Washington Post  July 28, 2017

A judge in central Tennessee has withdrawn a controversial order offering reduced jail time to inmates who volunteer for sterilization procedures after the plan drew a wave of criticism from health officials, prosecutors, and civil rights attorneys.

General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield’s order promised inmates in White County, Tenn., 30-day credits toward their sentences if they received vasectomies or birth control implants. The hope, Benningfield said, was to break a ‘‘vicious cycle’’ of repeat drug offenders passing through his courtroom who could not find jobs or afford child support.

Originally issued in May, the highly unorthodox order received national media attention after a local news station reported on it last week. During the roughly two months the order was in place, 32 women received implants of the hormone device Nexplanon, and 38 men signed up to receive vasectomies, according to NewsChannel 5.

In a one-page court filing Thursday, the judge rescinded the order. He wrote that anyone who signed up for the procedures and took ‘‘serious and considered steps toward their rehabilitation’’ would still get the credit.


"No suspension for Michigan judge who locked up 3 siblings" Associated Press  July 28, 2017

DETROIT — A judge who sent three children to juvenile detention for failing to see their divorced father during a fierce dispute over parenting time won’t be suspended from the bench, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday.

The court said a censure seemed appropriate for Oakland County Judge Lisa Gorcyca. She made headlines in 2015 when she held three kids — ages 13, 10, and 9 — in contempt and sent them to juvenile detention for 17 days.

‘‘You want to have your birthdays in Children’s Village? Do you like going to the bathroom in front of people?’’ Gorcyca said, referring to the name of the detention center.

The judge said they were under the spell of their mother, a doctor, and she made a reference to the followers of former California cult leader Charles Manson.

The Supreme Court said Gorcyca committed misconduct by failing to be respectful. But the court said other mistakes by the judge were legal errors made in good faith. It also noted that no attorney immediately objected to Gorcyca’s contempt decisions.

Justice Brian Zahra, writing for the 6-1 majority, said a 30-day suspension recommended by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission was too severe.

‘‘We have a judge with no prior record of misconduct who in an isolated instance exercised poor judgment and displayed a lack of appropriate judicial temperament and demeanor during a highly acrimonious and protracted divorce and custody proceeding,’’ the court said.

Justice Richard Bernstein said he was in favor of a suspension.

Gorcyca has ‘‘continuously refused to recognize that this conduct could be seen as improper, and instead she has shifted responsibility to the children — individuals who were not parties to the case before her — and their attorneys for failing to object to her contempt holdings,’’ Bernstein wrote.


"83-year-old woman, 63-year-old son arrested in murder for hire plot" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  July 28, 2017

An 83-year-old Plainfield, N.H., woman and her 63-year-old son allegedly paid another man $5,000 to kill the son’s former wife in a bizarre murder-for-hire plot, authorities said Friday.

Now, Pauline Chase and her son, Maurice Temple, who live together in the town of roughly 2,400 residents, need $1 million apiece to make bail on conspiracy and attempted murder charges stemming from the alleged plot to kill Jean Temple, Maurice’s former wife.

According to court papers, Chase and her son repeatedly discussed a plot to kill Jean Temple with a man named Mark Horne, 63, between July 20 and July 27. The Plainfield town website lists Horne as vice president of the local volunteer Fire Department, and Jean Temple as treasurer.

Chase allegedly asked Horne “how much it would cost to get rid of Jean Temple,” a legal filing said. She also, “alone or with” her son, discussed the possibility of Horne’s committing the murder and gave him $5,000, “with Maurice Temple present and/or participating in the conversation, as a down payment” for the killing.

The murder never happened, and Horne has not been charged.

Marc Hathaway, county attorney for Sullivan County, said Friday that Horne is not a suspect and is cooperating with investigators, the Union Leader reported.

Both defendants are due back in court Aug. 7.....