Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Judge Bruce Schroeder is viewed as tough jurist
Judge Bruce Schroeder's decision to not allow prosecutors to refer to people as "victims" sparked debate and, in some cases, outrage in legal circles. The longest serving active judge in Wisconsin's trial courts was again thrust into the spotlight.At the same time, Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder said at a pretrial hearing last month that the men who were shot could be described as "looters" or "rioters" if the defense can show they engaged in such activity during protests after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in August 2020, leaving Blake paralyzed.
Alabama Judge Tracie Todd is accused of violating judicial rules through her opposition to the death penalty and is on trial Monday on ethics charges that could remove her from office. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images Alabama Judge Tracie Todd is accused of violating judicial rules through her opposition to the death penalty and is on trial Monday on ethic charges that could remove her from office. A judges gavel rests on top of a desk in the courtroom of the newly opened Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum February 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida.
The Jefferson County Circuit Judge was suspended with pay in April after investigators accused her of wrongdoing from being involved in debates over capital punishment and the death sentence.
Kyle Rittenhouse Judge's Asian Food Joke Opens New Front in Culture Wars Around Trial
While the judge's comment seemed to be a commentary on supply chain backup, the joke has sparked a backlash online. Michele Dauber, a Stanford professor, said Schroeder made a "thinly-veiled anti-Asian comment." "Because all Asian food comes from China like the boats," she said in a tweet, "What a bigot." The biased judge in the Rittenhouse trial just made a thinly-veiled anti-Asian comment. When asked when lunch was coming he said "I hope the Asian food isn't on one of those boats in Long Beach harbor." Because all Asian food comes from China like the boats haha what a bigot. pic.twitter.
Todd was also charged with improperly barring a prosecutor from handling cases in her court, conducting her own investigations, and questioning a defense lawyer about political contributions.
Todd, who ruled the state's capital punishment law unconstitutional five years ago, made public comments and took actions that many believe showed she was improperly engaged in the issue and lacked the "detachment and neutrality" required of a judge, alleged the Judicial Inquiry Commission, which investigates complaints and files charges.
"Judge Todd abandoned her judicial role to become an advocate," commission attorney Elizabeth Bern told the nine-judge panel in opening arguments.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
Georgia District Attorney Resigns, Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Influencing Witnesses
As part of the deal, Mark Jones must serve one year in prison and four years of probation, as well as pay a $1,000 fine. He also submitted his resignation.Mark Jones, formerly of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit, was accused of trying to influence a police officer's and crime victim's testimony, as well as offering bribes to prosecutors.
Todd's attorney, Emory Anthony, said the judge followed her understanding of the law in ruling the state's old death penalty sentencing scheme unconstitutional. He suggested the case was fueled by dislike of Todd in the district attorney's office.
"The only thing she attempted to do was her job," Anthony told the court.
The charges date back years and involve matters that should have been considered by appeals courts, not judicial investigations, Todd's defense claimed in court documents. The allegations amount to a violation of Todd's First Amendment rights, the defense argued.
"Punishment for legal rulings or as a prescription on freedom of speech are not the intended uses of judicial disciplinary powers," the defense said in written arguments.
Judicial investigators said the state's right to file appeals didn't mean additional actions weren't required against Todd. They referred to her in a nearly 100-page complaint as "a judge who continued to fail to respect and follow clear directives and rulings of the appellate courts—even after the law was set forth in pleadings submitted to her."
75-Year-Old Whose Case Led to Hundreds of Juvenile Lifers Being Freed Still Awaits Parole
Henry Montgomery was arrested in 1963 for fatally shooting a deputy sheriff when he was 17. Now 75, he is awaiting a Louisiana board's decision on his parole.Henry Montgomery was arrested in 1963 for fatally shooting a man when he was 17. Now 75, he is awaiting a Louisiana board's decision on whether to grant him parole. Recent Supreme Court rulings have determined that life sentences without parole in cases against juveniles were considered cruel and unusual punishment. Montgomery's case was used as an example in those rulings, allowing hundreds of juvenile lifers to be freed.
Todd is a Democrat who first took office in 2013. The complaint that resulted in judicial ethics charges was filed by a former Republican district attorney, court documents showed.
Todd, who handles cases in Alabama's most populous county around Birmingham, made national news in 2016 when she barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty against four men charged in three killings. She questioned a state law in place at the time that allowed judges to override jury's recommendations of life without parole and sentence people to death. Since then, the law was changed and judges must follow the jurors' suggestion.
In her 28-page ruling, Todd called the previous practice a "life-to-death override epidemic" and questioned Alabama's judicial elections, which are held along partisan lines.
"There is a time and place for diplomacy and subtlety," Todd said. "That time and place has been expunged by the dire state of the justice system in Alabama. It is clear, from here on the front line, that Alabama's judiciary has unequivocally been hijacked by partisan interests and unlawful legislative neglect."
Penalty Recap: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
It could have been worse
The complaint against Todd said she went too far.
"Despite her arguable intent to accomplish what she perceived as noble purposes, [for example] elimination of the death penalty [at least in its current form], of selective prosecution, of racial discrimination in imprisonment, etc., her intent to achieve a noble purpose does not excuse apparent disregard of the law or her failure to maintain competence in the law," judicial prosecutors charged.
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Jury in Ahmaud Arbery death set for 2nd day of deliberations .
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Jury deliberations were scheduled to resume for a second day Wednesday in the trial of three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery after the 25-year-old Black man was spotted running in their coastal Georgia neighborhood. The disproportionately white jury received the case around midday Tuesday and spent about six hours deliberating before adjourning without a verdict in the trial of father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan.Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley told jurors to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.