Judge's heckling of lawyer leads to re-trial

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

A New York judge has taken his benchly wisdom a little too far by ridiculing a defence lawyer to such an extent that an appeals panel was forced to direct a retrial.According to law.com, the…

A New York judge has taken his benchly wisdom a little too far by ridiculing a defence lawyer to such an extent that an appeals panel was forced to direct a retrial.

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According to law.com, the judge criticised the hapless defence lawyer's arguments in front of a jury, using language such as "clown", "silly", "outrageous" and "comedy". Fearing that the lawyer's client, who was convicted of robbery, did not receive a fair trial, a unanimous panel directed that the case be tried before a different judge.

According to the panel, the "trial court's pervasive denigration of defendant's counsel, in front of the jury, deprived the defendant of a fair trial."

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Apparently, the judge had made several "unfortunate comments", including one where he made and sustained his own objection, saying that the lawyer's line of questioning had been irrelevant the first time it had been raised and "to repeat it a second time is silly".

Ouch.

Judge's heckling of lawyer leads to re-trial
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