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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fringeville Edition #54, December 31 2011

The Hermit Judge

"...court's in session, your Honor!"

When I first read that Judge William Amesbury was going to let an attorney charged with child corruption charges zip off to Africa to coach a youth soccer team I have to admit I got pretty hot.

“Where has this guy been the last few years?” I thought to myself. The “kids for cash” scandal, after all, got NEPA headlines across the world. 

If that wasn’t enough, the scandal rocking Penn State should surely have made him realize that letting an accused corruptor of minors go to Africa to coach youths would be like letting a rabid fox loose in a henhouse. 

So yes, I was upset. 

Then I read the judicial code of conduct and found the explanation in a note under Canon 5. It’s a little blurb that states the following:

“…Complete separation of judges from extra-judicial activities is neither possible nor wise; they should not become isolated from the society in which they live.”

Well there you have it! The only possible explanation for this ghastly judicial decision? Judge Amesbury, when not on the bench, lives the life of a hermit.

He is the Hermit Judge.

Obviously he has isolated himself to avoid any possibility popular culture or the media might influence his decisions. I’m sure he has a TV, but he probably has it locked on the Judge’s Home Shopping Network (Gowns starting at $75. Gavels: three models, starting at $21.95)

Newspaper subscriptions? Oh, I doubt it. They might affect his ability to adjudicate. He probably just reads musty old law books to pass the time.

But surely he must have some diversions?

Well, he’s not watching college football. He’d have heard about the pesky little child molestation scandal that boiled over down in State College. If he knew about that he’d no doubt have ruled differently in this case.

A college basketball fan?? Ditto. Molestation charges lurk there, too.

He can’t be watching any pro baseball (steroid scandals) or pro football either (drug-dealing wide receivers).

After extensive research I can find only two sports Judge Amesbury might follow which would allow him to unwind with a cold one without fear that his judgment might be impaired: Smeagle Throwing and Caber Tossing. 

I’ve ruled out Smeagle Throwing, which involves tossing dwarves against velcro-covered walls. While there have been no real scandals (steroid use by a Smeagler for example, or super glue on a Smeaglee’s padded costume so they stick to the wall when tossed) the sport is illegal in at least two states: Florida and New York. It’s hard to imagine Judge Amesbury watching dwarf tossing knowing it is against the law in some parts of the country.

This leaves Caber Tossing. It’s an exciting, manly sport that as far as I can tell has never faced a scandal. (There were rumors that in 1984 a contestant used a caber made of balsa instead of the traditional wood of the larch. The caber was confiscated and stored in a shed, but was destroyed when the peat moss on which the structure was standing mysteriously caught fire).

Clearly, my initial anger was misguided. Judge Amesbury’s ruling simply reflects that by being a hermit judge, by isolating himself so completely from reality, he is simply out of touch with our society.

My bad.

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