I’m always appalled when I hear stories about ordinary people elected to the important office of judge who put on a black robe and suddenly think that they can make up all the rules as they go along with criminal defendants in their court.
It’s like cereal box justice – reaching into a box of corn flakes for the prize of the day and applying the half backed result to individuals without any deference to the rule of law – especially when fundamental constitutional rights are involved.
That was the story this week in a Kentucky courtroom where a hare brained judge got it into her mind that she could order a teenager to delete her Facebook account for exercising her constitutional First Amendment rights in her own home entirely out of the presence of the judge.
The defendant was ticketed and charged with Driving under the Influence (DUI) after causing an accident. Afterward, she wrote a status update on her Facebook page to her friends saying: "My dumb (expletive) got a dui and I hit a car…lol."
The parents of four other teens injured in the crash asked District Judge Mary Jane Phelps to have the offending Facebook page removed and the judge agreed. She ordered the defendant to delete her entire account.
The defendant apologized to the court and the parents but refused to delete the account. So the judge sentenced her to a two-day jail sentence for contempt of court. No specific law was cited in the sentencing order, which is hardly surprising since this judge had absolutely no legal authority to put the girl in jail for conduct with occurred outside her presence and was merely an exercise of her First Amendment rights to free speech and free association under the United States Constitution.
And where was her attorney while all this was going on? She either didn’t have one, in which case the judge had no authority to put her in jail, or he just stood by with this thumb up his ass like an incompetent fool
Suppose, for example, that the girl made the offending statement at church to the congregation. Would the judge have the legal authority to order her to cancel her membership in the church?
But these questions hardly matter to a judge who puts on a black robe and believes it gives them unlimited power over others.
It’s just one more example of cereal box justice in America