It was my displeasure to witness a judge in the Urbana Municipal Court show disrespect to those addressing the bench as attorneys as well as all observing the court proceedings. His behavior, lack of eye contact, obvious anger, unprofessional attire, and what I perceived as overriding contempt for his colleagues was unacceptable. Having served on Grand Jury and in other legal capacities as a school principal and school teacher, I have always been proud of the integrity and diplomacy of the judge. I was appalled at this representation in our courts.
The behavior was indeed a mockery of serving in this most prestigious elected position. A judge’s ability to show authority over hearing and making decisions on cases in a court of law must include respect for all. It must allow the dignity of each and every person to be acknowledged. I did not experience that in the Urbana Municipal Courtroom that day. As I exited the room others were sharing their dismay as well, aghast at the open disdain for the position as well as those engaged in serving the public.
May it go on record this display of rude and childlike behavior did not go unnoticed. As Elie Wiesel told me, “One must never allow social injustice to rear its ugly head.” …and that is exactly what I observed. I certainly am thankful I did not have students in the courtroom to witness this blatant disrespect for others.
Marcia Balmut Ward
Retired educator and community advocate