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Kansas Judge Sanctioned for ‘Mess With Me’ Challenge

Posted Jul 1, 2008 10:12 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Kansas judge has been censured for losing her temper with prospective jurors in a 2004 case, ordering one dismissed juror to attend the trial anyway and asking others, “Anybody else want to mess with me?”

The Kansas Supreme Court found that Judge Rebecca Pilshaw’s conduct detracted from the honor and dignity of the judiciary, the Wichita Eagle reports.

Pilshaw made the “mess with me” comment after one potential juror said she couldn’t serve because she didn’t believe police officers’ testimony, according to findings of fact cited in the Kansas Supreme Court opinion. After another juror said she couldn’t serve for religious reasons, Pilshaw announced, “I feel sorry for the next person that ends up going, because I am going to hit the roof, I think.”

Pilshaw later apologized and permitted any jurors who felt intimidated to leave. She also rescinded her order that the dismissed juror had to attend the trial.

Pilshaw’s lawyer, Steve Joseph, told the Wichita Eagle that one juror testified in support of Pilshaw. "She said she thought the judge acted appropriately," Joseph said, "because it was obvious the people she yelled at were just trying to get out of jury duty." He said Pilshaw is “glad she can finally put this to rest."

A hat tip to the Legal Profession Blog.

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