A Buffalo, New York judge who created the Adolescent Diversion Court Program in the Buffalo City Court which provides at-risk youth with educational and treatment resources and who has a spotless misconduct record succumbs to the baiting of a 17-year old defendant:
Defendant: Kiss my a**. F*** you, you b**ch a** n*****. You don't f***ing scare me, n*****. I don't care. Kiss my a**, suck my d***, f*** you. I see you next court date, p***y.
Judge: I think we should vacate the plea.
Defense attorney: Judge, I don't know that he was interested in taking a plea.
Judge: That's what pussies do.
Defendant, upon having bail fixed at $50,000: You can keep the bail, and keep the trial, and suck my d***."
Judge, to defendant: Why don't you pull it out for me?
Defendant: I would if weren't in handcuffs.
Judge: Probably need a magnifying glass, too.
The judge was admonished (PDF), with this observation:
While respondent may have been attempting to reach the young defendant by using such language, his inappropriate comments contributed to the atmosphere of disrespect and lack of decorum. See Matter ofTrost, 1980 Annual Report 153 (rejecting a Family Court judge's defense that his use of intemperate language was an attempt "to meet people at their own level and to use language and convey ideas that they would not understand if presented in any other fashion"). Such invective undermined his obligation to be dignified and patient, and set a poor example for everyone present. Moreover, a litigant who is the subject of such comments may reasonably perceive that the judge is biased. Respondent had sufficient judicial remedies at his disposal, including contempt (with appropriate warnings) or removing the defendant from the courtroom.
Good reminder, regardless of the age of the defendant.