The following are a sequence of some of the many, many videos found concerning judges behaving badly or criminally. It was actually difficult to choose which ones to include. However, finding videos—or any news for that matter—of judges being held accountable is an entirely different story. It is virtually impossible to find any reports or videos of any judge being reprimanded or prosecuted for wrongdoing.
*** EDIT November 2023: All the videos below on YouTube have been pulled. The only one remaining is kept on our server. ***
The judge in this video instructs the jury that they returned the wrong verdict, but she will have another chance to "get the defendant." News flash: judges are supposed to be neutral arbiters of cases.
This case underscores how useless the oversight boards are.
As we said in our book Stack the Legal Odds in Your Favor and other blog posts: what do you think would happen if there was no video?
"Judge" William Watkins punishing someone for being unfortunate. Sadly, this is extremely common these days. The judicial system often functions as a modern day reverse Robin Hood, stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.
This is how people should handle bad judges...like William Watkins. Unfortunately in today's Amerika, one-third of people are overcome by fear. The remain two-thirds are unmoved by apathy—until the legal system negatively affects them, which it almost certainly will.
This is how people should handle the entire crime syndicate. If everyone did this, it would be forced to improve. But since the system knows that Tom is one in a million, the pressure to effect change is nowhere near as great as it should be. Note: if the video won't play, as it didn't in a couple of different browsers, it can also be found here.
People need to understand how incredibly rare the above instance is. To put it into perspective, only 12 out of 7,773 complaints filed against federal judges from 2015 through 2020—almost one out of a thousand, or about a mere 0.1 percent—resulted in any form of disciplinary action. Also, keep in mind it's not the egregiousness of the conduct that caused her to be removed from the bench; it's the fact that she pissed off the wrong people. Plenty of judges do things just as bad (or worse) and remain jurists.
To answer this blog's title, a couple major reasons that judges are not punished for misbehavior is that:
- The oversight boards are composed predominantly of lawyers and judges the vast majority of the time. This must change.
- The same political connections that led to judges being appointed—at the entire federal level and in many states—are the same connections that shield them from punishment for wrongdoing.
The topic of this post is covered in greater detail in chapters three and seven in the newly released Our American Injustice System.