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Speaking of Judge McLeod...
by Buck Quigley
The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct formally admonished Buffalo City Court Judge James A. McLeod on December 11, for getting into a heated exchange with a 17-year-old defendant in his court room in February 2011.
A formal written complaint about the incident was filed on September 14, 2012, alleging that McLeod “was discourteous to a defendant and convicted him without a plea or trial.”
According to the “Agreed Statement” of the event—which the 10-person commission used to determine McLeod’s punishment—the judge asked the teenager if he knew what “thuggery” meant. When he said he did not, McLeod clarified his meaning this way:
“It means being a bully, trying to impress people. That’s not good. Especially when they say you can’t follow through on any of those wolf cries. If they were to gang up on you, you would be the first one yelling mama as you’re running home.”
Addressing a trespass charge, McLeod asked the defendant, “What’s going on with you over there, Mr. Tough Guy?” When he responded that he didn’t remember, McLeod warned him: “Don’t play me.”
Then, without waiting for the defendant to enter a plea, McLeod convicted him of trespass and sentenced him to 75 hours of community service. The next charge, of disorderly conduct for allegedly throwing away some drugs—which the defendant denied doing—McLeod warned him again: “…don’t play me like I’m stupid, you’re not bright enough to outsmart me. You want to try it again?”
The defendant again denied having drugs. With that, McLeod convicted him of disorderly conduct, again, before the defendant had entered a plea to that charge. He was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Then, the defendant responded. In colorful, provocative language. (We’re not committing that language to print. Visit AV Daily at Artvoice.com to read for yourself.) Until McLeod fixed bail at $50,000. The defendant said, “You can keep the bail, and keep the trial, and suck my dick.” McLeod asked, “Why don’t you pull it out for me?” The defendant said he would, were he not in handcuffs. McLeod added: “Probably need a magnifying glass, too.”
“Engrossed in this intemperate colloquy, [McLeod] ignored fundamental due process by convicting the defendant without a plea or allocution,” the commission found.blog comments powered by Disqus
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