Court Security

Man arrested after allegedly slapping, spitting on judge taking a cigarette break outside courthouse


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Judge Arnette Hubbard.

A man was arrested Monday after authorities said he argued with, slapped and twice spit on an African-American judge taking a cigarette break outside a downtown Chicago courthouse.

Prosecutors say Judge Arnette R. Hubbard followed the man and called for help when the assailant spit on her the first time, telling her “Rosa Parks, move,” after she walked past him outside the Daley Center at around 2 p.m., the Chicago Tribune reports.

David C. Nicosia, 55, is then accused of slapping the judge and spitting on her a second time before he was arrested by Cook County sheriff’s deputies. He was charged with aggravated battery and a hate crime, and he was ordered held in lieu of $90,000 bond during a Tuesday court hearing.

The incident was sparked because Nicosia objected to the judge smoking in his vicinity, according to the newspaper. It isn’t clear he knew at the time that the target of his alleged ire is a judge.

Judge Hubbard, 79, was the first female president of the National Bar Association and Cook County Bar Association, and has been an international elections monitor in South Africa and Haiti, reports the Tribune. She was appointed to the Cook County bench in 1997, and has been retained in every election since. In 2009, she was honored by the ABA with a Margaret Brent Award. One project she created during a long career working in the field of election law was “Desert Fax,” which helped deployed military personnel submit absentee ballots, according to her Margaret Brent Award biography (PDF).

“She’s an icon in our community,” said Delores Robinson, a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, to the Tribune. “People of good common sense and decency, people of good hearts should be outraged by this, not just because of who she is but that this happened to anybody.”

Nicosia’s attorney, Steven Goldman, told WLS-TV on Wednesday that his client says the incident did not happen the way it has been described. Goldman says he is seeking video surveillance from Daley Center Plaza, where the incident occurred.

Last update July 17 to include comment from Nicosia’s lawyer.

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