(TWO NEW POLLS ON JUDGES CUETO AND EIG.)
"I'M NOT GONNA PUT UP WITH THAT CRAP".
Those were the words of Judge Jose Cueto as he demanded that the police go get a distraught mother and her family, including a 15 year old juvenile, as they left court upset after Judge Cueto refused to lower the initial bond for the woman's son. (If you're tuning into the blog to read about Judge Eig calling someone a crack whore in Juvenile Court, that link is below.)
The title of the post links to the tape of the bond hearing.
In well over twenty years of practice in the REGJB we have never seen a Judge lose his temper to a distraught mother this way.
Judge Cueto needs to be removed from criminal court. He cannot control his feelings of prejudice against those charged with selling cocaine.
Jude Cueto opined that perhaps those who sell cocaine should be in prison forever. Perhaps Judge Cueto forgot, or does not know that sale of cocaine is a second degree felony, the maximum penalty for which is fifteen years in prison.
The amazing thing about this tape is that through most of the hearing Judge Cueto does an admirable job of dealing with a distraught mother. He reads her portions of the arrest affidavit so as to explain to her the evidence upon which he is basing his decision to set bond at $90,000.00.
But when the Judge refuses to lower the bond, the family leaves upset and says something that cannot be heard on the tape. Judge Cueto says his line about not taking crap, he calls for a police officer to get the family back inside, and even reaches for the emergency police liaison button.
When the family is brought back inside the courtroom Judge Cueto erupts in anger, screaming at them and demanding that they answer his question "who do you think you are" or he will throw them in jail.
A young woman tells the Judge she is 15 years old. The Judge sarcastically tells her she has a real bright future based on how she acted, and he again threatens her with jail unless she apologizes. This is a juvenile he knows he is now dealing with mind you when he makes the threat about jail.
The video ends with the Judge saying "get her out of here, I need to take a break." The police escort the woman out and the judge storms off the bench.
This judge lost his temper for which there is no excuse.
This video is so shocking in a display of a Judge who cannot keep his temper in the most mild of situations we have seen in the REGJB, they we are at a loss for words such that we can't even turn our attention to Judge Eig, who apparently called someone a "crack whore" in Juvenile Court. The Herald article is here.
Here is the point about Judge Cueto: we are supposed to be professionals. We are supposed to be trained in dealing with the emotional situations that arise on a daily if not hourly basis in criminal court. And above all others, the Judge is supposed to radiate impartiality, while controlling the courtroom and giving to all sides an impartial decision based on facts not emotion.
At this Judge Cueto failed miserably. He needs to apologize to the woman and the juvenile. He needs to be removed from criminal court until such time that he shows he is capable of handling a bond hearing without losing his temper.
Whew. When it rains it pours, even on an otherwise slow Friday afternoon.