Idiot Judge

Thank heavens nothing like this would ever happen in Australia:

A Tennessee newspaper has uncovered more than a half dozen incidents in which a Campbell County judge barred the public from entering her courtroom during docket call and then ordered the arrest of defendants who were late as a result.

Judge Amanda Sammons closes her doors during the docket call despite Tennessee Supreme Court rulings holding that adult courtrooms are open to the public, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Bailiffs were locking the doors until the newspaper questioned Sammons about the policy last October; after that the doors were unlocked but bailiffs still refused to allow people to enter during the reading of the docket.

Suzanne Webb tells the newspaper she was arrested after she arrived to court for a Sept. 24 hearing in a misdemeanor vandalism case and was barred from entering Sammons’ courtroom. After the doors were opened, Webb entered the courtroom and read a book until her case was called.

Sammons told Webb she was late and she was going to jail for violating bond, which she had already posted, according to Webb’s account. Webb posted the new bond of $424 and was released. Sammons later dropped the vandalism charge in exchange for forfeiture of the cash bond.

In other cases, Sammons set bond for late defendants who couldn’t enter the courtroom at amounts ranging from $650 to $75,000. One defendant was ordered held without bond for 24 hours.