Wednesday, April 9, 2008

An Inconvnient Truth

Witnesses in our judicial system are sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If they fail to do so, we call it perjury. If they are government witnesses or police officers, they might see that as their calling. If they are defense witnesses in criminal trials, they might be prosecuted for lying.

When it comes to judges, the state has different standards. Judge
Wendell Griffen has been harassed by anonymous complaints because he dared to say that the University of Arkansas has done an awful job of making black students welcome on the campus and for calling George Bush a moron. The state Judicial Discipline Commission repeatedly tried to admonish him for telling these truths in public, but the courts finally told them about the First Amendment protection for freedom of speech.

Now the Judicial Discipline Commission has reprimanded Springdale District Judge
Stanley Ludwig for telling the truth during a bench trial last year. Some asshole filed a police complaint that his wife had beat him up, and she was charged with some variant of domestic abuse. Ludwig found her not guilty and said that the man's minor injuries were self-inflicted. It became a matter of credibility, and Judge Ludwig explained his conclusion that “You’re a controlling asshole who went to Honduras to find a submissive Hispanic woman to marry.”

For speaking the plain and simple truth in court, the Judicial Discipline Commission last week issued a Letter of Reprimand to Judge Ludwig for
having "used inappropriate language in violation of Canon 3B(3)." It seems to me that he should have been given a medal, but Stan said, "I was completely wrong. I lost my temper... and called him an asshole. I can’t do that. I guess I can call him a liar, but not an asshole.”

As George Orwell said, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." In Arkansas, it got Judge Griffen and Judge Ludwig official reprimands from the state's language and opinion police.

No comments:

Post a Comment