You would think that judges, having the job of judging people who do bad things, would be really good at justifying their behavior when they’re on the other side of the gavel. Alas, recent explanations of judges behaving badly have been: my friends said it was okay, the seat would have gone to waste otherwise, and Ambien caused my racism. The newest explanation to join the trove? I don’t recall. No, seriously, that’s the excuse. From the ABA Journal:
A judge in Garfield County, Oklahoma, has stopped hearing cases after his arrest in an alleged shooting spree and road-rage incident in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 11.
Police allege that Judge Brian Lovell, 58, fired at parked cars and twice rear-ended a vehicle less than 2 miles away.
Police found two handguns in Lovell’s car. According to an affidavit, “Lovell advised he did not know why he would have shot his gun and he could not recall any part of the shooting incident.”
How do… wha… how do you remember the road rage but not repeatedly shooting haphazardly into the street? If your excuse is going to be you were in a fugue state, commit to the bit with everyone except your therapist.
Lovell admitted to rear-ending a car twice but did not say that it was intentional. Given the circumstances, I don’t think it would be that hard to infer intent:
Police were still on the scene when they got a call about the rear-ended driver. She told police that Lovell struck her car twice, and the second time, he continued to apply pressure to her vehicle. She kept her foot on the brake to avoid being pushed into cross traffic at an intersection.
While this doesn’t excuse Lovell’s “accidents” or the bullet holes he put in cars, his legal community seems surprised about the whole thing:
Stephen Jones, a defense lawyer who has appeared before Lovell, told the Oklahoman that Lovell is a respected judge.
“He is always congenial, reasonable. He is not a stuffed shirt,” Jones said.
If at any point your shirt becomes so free flowing that you start shooting people’s cars and almost push someone into an intersection with your ride, for the love of God, please invest in some shirt stays. I’d take a dull gray suit over a judge with poor memory and trigger discipline any day.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.