Stuff White People Can’t Hear

Fulton County Judge Marvin Arrington sent the white folk out of his courtroom before lecturing the black folk. (Grandma made him do it.) From the AJC:

Fulton Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington routinely sees young men who are near the end of their line.

The Fulton County judge calls them his “captive audience” and every Thursday — sentencing day — he gives them a piece of his mind about eventually getting a degree and getting a job before sending them to prison for years.

Last Thursday, the judge now admits, he went too far. He said he looked out a 50 or so black defendants and asked all white people in the courtroom to leave.

“I wanted to have a fireside chat,” he said of his decision to re-segregate the courtroom on the fifth floor of the Justice Towers. “And my grandmother said years ago that if you’re going to fuss at black people, you don’t need to do it in front of white people.”

Full story here. Guess black-on-black scolding from the bench won’t make it on Stuff White People Like.

21 comments

  1. BobG says:

    I have no problem with what Judge Arrington did. Besides, what are the white folks going to do… cry `discrimination` because they didn’t get to stay in the courtroom and take a tongue-lashing that didn’t apply to them in the first place?

    I will not criticize the judge for telling someone of any color that THEY are responsible for their own lives. Personal responsibility is in short supply these days.

  2. jsm says:

    If what the judge had to say was really valuable, then everybody should have been able to hear it.

  3. SpaceyG says:

    Yep, nothing like withholding something from someone to make ’em want it THAT much more. Now tongues surely are a’waggin’.

    (My grandma told me that, although I think it was, originally, in the context of something to do with “catching” a man.)

  4. drjay says:

    jsm // Apr 3, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    If what the judge had to say was really valuable, then everybody should have been able to hear it.

    why–i say really valuable things to patients of mine that don’t apply to you–you probably say valuable things to folks that are none of my business–its unfortunate this is a black/white thing but as an officer of the court i’m sure he feels a burden for the young black men who come through the system that he sends to jail and wants do try in his own way to make an impact…

  5. StevePerkins says:

    I believe the gripe is that judges are supposed to be color-blind in how they deal with defendants from the bench, and this judge was blatantly admitting that he isn’t. As to whether it was wrong for him to admit it, or whether it’s wrong for every other judge to bother denying it, I don’t really really have an opinion.

  6. jsm says:

    “i say really valuable things to patients of mine that don’t apply to you–you probably say valuable things to folks that are none of my business”

    Different situation. A judge’s job is to interpret and apply the law–not give fatherly advice to specific groups. He works for the people, and the people should be privy to everything he says in a courtroom.

    You work for your patients, and I work indirectly for my company’s clients. It is they who are privy to what you and I do and say at work, and that lends itself to more privacy than does a public courtroom.

    If the judge has something to say to make a positive impact on these specific young people, the general public has a right to hear it.

  7. Chris says:

    The only concern I had was the the counsel on both sides were white. Clearing the audience is acceptable – sending away their defense counsel sounds like a grounds for an appeal.

  8. Rogue109 says:

    The only concern I had was the the counsel on both sides were white. Clearing the audience is acceptable – sending away their defense counsel sounds like a grounds for an appeal.

    Chris, clearing the gallery is not acceptable, either. If Judge Schwall did the same thing in reverse, there would be cries from the rafters. There are points listed above about how justice is supposed to be color blind. That’s very true. But the other problem that is also clear is that selected members of the judiciary seem to feel that they are social scientists. It is NOT the role of a Superior Court judge to give life lessons. Ditto State Court where I heard a judge earlier today equate the Global War on Terror to a domestic violence case. Give me a break.

    Judges are paid to rule on evidence and testimony, hear civil and criminal matters and dispense sentences within the parameters set for them by the General Assembly. That’s it. With jurists like Arrington, they get “robe-i-tis” and think that they are the next messiah who can cure all problems.

    It always disturbs me how little interest a community has in electing judges. Just consider this: if Arrington is willing to do this, what else does he do in his courtroom? How many of his cases are just automatically shifted to the dead docket? How many times has he been overruled by the Court of Appeals? What kind of sentences does he hand out for criminal activity? The man is a poor jurist and needs to be replaced at the next election.

  9. juliobarrios says:

    I think Arrington’s heart was in the right place, but as he already stated it was a mistake. It sets a bad precedent. Do you start asking various demographics to leave the room, such as white people, women, black people, etc.. during various scoldings.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    Rogue,

    It always disturbs me how little interest a community has in electing judges. Just consider this: if Arrington is willing to do this, what else does he do in his courtroom?

    Just look at the judicial shenanigans that go on in any traffic court. Sadly, people care very little about what goes on in courtrooms until they are one of the parties involved.

  11. Rogue109 says:

    Doug: Truer words have not been spoken. It’s just a real shame. From top to bottom, from Superior Court down to Recorder’s Court and Municipal Courts in each city, there is a real problem.

  12. MSBassSinger says:

    As far as I know, a judge is in control of the courtroom. As long as the court reporter was recording the words spoken, then what’s the big deal? You think a lot of these criminals who happen to be black are going to listen to white folks? They’ve already been given lifelong propaganda at home and in church of how bad white people are and why all their problems are our fault. It’s about time someone they may listen to is telling them their problems are their fault.

    Someone who knows more than I do – was the court reporter there and is there a transcript? Were the white lawyers required to abandon their clients or was counsel allowed to stay?

    A large percentage of black men are being sent to prison – not because they are black, but because they are criminals from a subculture that condones crime. Being a criminal knows no color. Many need to hear that their predicament is a result of their choices. If that is what the judge did, then more power to him.

  13. Bill Arp says:

    Thats funny, he asked for all the whites to leave and both attorneys had to go…..ha….I bet ol Booby Kahn loved his loyalty to stop their racially motivated plight to prison.

  14. Doug Deal says:

    Isn’t that “ex parte” communication between the judge and the client. Isn’t there some sort of ethics violation when a judge speaks to one party regarding their case outside of the presence of the opposing side or their own attorney?

  15. jsm says:

    “As far as I know, a judge is in control of the courtroom. As long as the court reporter was recording the words spoken, then what’s the big deal? You think a lot of these criminals who happen to be black are going to listen to white folks?”

    No “white folks” were speaking–they were disallowed from even listening. This judge has no legally acceptable reason to cause people to have to read the transcript to know what was said.

    Government’s purpose is not to try to counteract any “lifelong propaganda” that one receives while growing up, especially via a segregated courtroom. It can only punish criminal activity in an effort to stem such.

    If this judge wants to “fuss at black people” about the consequences of crime and how it affects their community, I’m sure he would be welcomed to speak in schools, churches, and at other gatherings in their neighborhoods. With his experience, he could have a real impact on these kids who don’t yet understand the misery of imprisonment and living in fear of cops, rival gang members, etc.

    Bill Cosby hasn’t had any problem stating his views for everyone, so that kids can hear the warnings before they end up in Judge Arrington’s courtroom. The judge could take a lesson from Mr. Cosby.

  16. The Comma Guy says:

    Don’t forget that this is the same judge that got into some trouble for sending for his Hank Aaron signed Louisville Slugger when presiding over a domestic violence case.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1129898333540

    The Fulton County bench is a mess but the voters don’t pay attention or care and there is a sense of apathy within the local bar to get folks to run against them.

    While she’s no longer on the bench, one of the judges declared a mistrial in a drunk driving homicide case because she started court early, without notice to the prosecutors. In her comments to the jury, the Judge expressed sympathy for the Defendant – an illegal alien. And don’t forget that another Fulton County judge was recently reversed by the Georgia Supreme Court after she ordered the Department of Corrections to change its rules to allow a convicted murderer to grow his dreadlocks out and wear a beard while incarcerated.

Comments are closed.