Legal Ethics

Judge holds prosecutor in contempt, says his 'emotional intelligence needs strengthening'

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Emotional intelligence.

Corrected: A Louisiana judge found a New Orleans prosecutor in contempt of court on Thursday and barred him from ever bringing a cellphone into her courtroom.

Judge Laurie White’s contempt finding against Assistant District Attorney Jason Napoli was based on a series of text messages in which Napoli claimed the judge had badmouthed him. During the text exhange, White ordered Napoli never to text her again, but he continued the texting conversation. The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the New Orleans Advocate have stories.

White said Napoli would be sentenced after 90 days, during which time he would be on a probationary period in her eyes, according to the Times-Picayune coverage.

“I find your gullibility causes you to be moved to action to this court and judge as result of rumor and pettiness,” White told Napoli. “Your emotional intelligence needs strengthening, as well as controlling your impulses that causes you to be inappropriate to this court.”

During the contempt hearing, Napoli called another assistant DA to testify, who said White had made disparaging remarks about Napoli and his boss during an introductory meeting in her chambers on Dec. 20. The prosecutor, Brian Ebarb, said he was surprised when White criticized Napoli and Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, and he relayed White’s remarks to Napoli.

“I walked down here to introduce myself, and the judge said something like, ‘Good to meet you. I want you to know your boss is an a–hole,’ ” Ebarb testified. During less than five minutes in chambers, he said, White compared Napoli and Cannizzaro to Satan and Lucifer, and labeled them stupid and lazy.

White said she never compared the prosecutors to the devil, and denied calling them names. She lost her bid for to become a state appeals judge in November to a candidate backed by Cannizzaro.

Hat tip to @JustADCohen.

Corrected to clarify that White lost the November election to become an appeals judge.

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