Judge Accused of Lashing Out at Court Watch Group and Their Intimidating Clipboards

A Minnesota judge is accused of violating ethics rules for his courtroom condemnation of a court monitoring group and their intimidating red clipboards.

Judge Jack Norby of Hennepin County asserted that the clipboards carried by members of WATCH were a “not very subtle threat to the judge” that were akin to gang signs, according to a transcript cited in the ethics complaint. Norby complained about the group in a lengthy statement he read during a December sentencing hearing in a child molestation case, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the CityPages blog The Blotter.

WATCH has “an intended nefarious influence on the court system,” Norby said, and the group exhibits a “mixture of self-righteousness, officiousness, arrogance, humorlessness and ignorance.”

Nordby, 69, refused to accept a public reprimand and is fighting the charges, his lawyer, Joe Friedberg, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He’s got the cojones to stand up to this, and we’re gonna take them on,” Friedberg said.

CityPages posted the complaint (PDF) and Nordby’s response (PDF).

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.