Saturday, May 06, 2017

Judge Prejudges Criminal Case

In our American constitutional system, criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Unfortunately, a few misguided judges here and there still don't get it.
Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times for a succinct editorial on one of them.
The Honorable Hillsborough County Judge Margaret R. Taylor has recused herself since making prejudicial remarks about a criminal case involving alleged sexual assault by a University of South Florida athlete.
May she kindly learn kindness, mercy and objectivity.
We have some 15,000 judges in America -- We, the People need them to decide cases based upon the facts and the law.
Most judges wear black robes to symbolize their neutrality.
(In his confirmation hearings, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch revealed where he gets his, at the choir robe store).
When prejudice or politics influences a judge's decisions, it's time to go hang up their black polyester choir robes.
Our awesome American aspiration is an inspiration to people all over this planet.
It was best expressed by President Ronald Wilson Reagan in a televised speech to the then-Soviet people at Moscow State University (MSU) on May 31, 1988:
Go into any courtroom and there will preside an independent judge, beholden to no government power. There every defendant has the right to a trial by a jury of his peers, usually 12 men and women - common citizens, they are the ones, the only ones, who weigh the evidence and decide on guilt or innocence. In that court, the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the word of a policeman, or any official, has no greater legal standing than the word of the accused.

Hon. Margaret R. Taylor
(Premier Sothebys Realty)

Tampa Bay Times Editorial

Editorial: Judge unfairly blasts USF
Friday, May 5, 2017 2:54pm

Hillsborough County Judge Margaret Taylor went too far this week in her criticism of a University of South Florida athlete arrested on a sexual battery charge and USF's football program. The full facts have yet to be presented, and the judge's public shaming may ultimately cloud rather than highlight the problem of campus sex abuse.

USF junior and defensive end LaDarrius Jackson was arrested Monday and charged with sexual battery of another student at an on-campus residential site. At a bond hearing, Taylor told Jackson the incident made her embarrassed to be a USF alum. "If these allegations against you are true," she continued, "I must say that your behavior is nothing short of outrageous." Taylor then proceeded to lecture first-year coach Charlie Strong, who didn't attend the hearing, and question his control over his players.

"If these allegations against you are true" is not some minor matter. That's the whole point of a trial — to establish the facts and determine innocence or guilt. And this case is nowhere near trial. Taylor was also premature in faulting the university. There are plenty of cases in recent years where colleges have helped cover up criminal acts of student-athletes. But this case — according to what's known now — doesn't fit that pattern. The victim quickly reported the incident to USF housing staff, who helped her in contacting the police. Jackson was contacted by authorities and detained, and arrested by USF police hours after the first reports.

This was a misfire from a judge who should have shown more respect for due process and the facts of the case before her.

Editorial: Judge unfairly blasts USF 05/05/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 5, 2017 3:03pm]

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