How a judge and prosecutor come to their decisions may well be swayed by preconceived notions. If a judge has a grudge against a type of person or has strongly irrational feelings about the type of crime that a defendant allegedly committed, unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done about that. However, what a judge or prosecutor say and how those beliefs are represented in the courtroom does matter. A judge cannot pass down sentencing by slandering the defendant before the jury has reached a decision, for example.
If a judge or prosecutor is found to have behaved inappropriately and that behavior could have intentionally or unintentionally swayed the outcome of the decision, a retrial may be necessary. Or, if it can be proven at a later time, an appeal may be granted. The criminal appeals attorneys of Barney and Hourihane can be reached at 312-854-0906 for experienced, aggressive, and immediate assistance.
Cook County Judge Comments Found “Highly Offensive”
Recently, a Cook county judge was found to have said highly offensive remarks by a three-judge appellate court, according to the Chicago Tribune. The judge has a prior history of using profane language and making improper comments, and has been reassigned and disciplined before in the past. In this instance, the judge’s remarks have lead to a retrial. The defendant, accused of being part of an attempted murder of three Chicago police officers, apologized for his actions to his children at the sentencing.
Right afterwards, the judge said "I don't believe they thought about their kids in the slightest on that day. If someone said, 'Hey, man, how are your kids doing?' their response would be 'What kids? I got kids somewhere?'" The appellate decision claimed that the judge’s comments “leave little doubt that they were derisive and intended to malign an entire class of criminal defendants. ...The court's sarcasm was unwarranted and wholly inappropriate." Additionally, the prosecutor described the defendant as a “criminal” in her opening statements back in 2013, which the appellate panel also condemned.
Personal Bias is Cause for Serious Concern
Whenever a judge is in the position to make an impartial decision, there is great reason for alarm. The defendant’s future lies partially in the hands of that judge, and to make anything but an unbiased ruling is one of the greatest pillars of the U.S. justice system. According to 28 U.S. Code § 455, “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Personal bias should not have a place in the courtroom.
It is impossible for any person to be completely unbiased in every scenario, even a judge. However, when there is reason to believe, through their actions or words, they a judge has such a bias, you must take swift action. Call the experienced Chicago criminal appeals attorneys of the Barney and Hourihane law firm today at 312-854-0906 for, aggressive and experienced representation.