Feeds

US judge debenched for jailing entire courtroom

'Inexplicable madness' provoked by ringing mobile

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A US judge who jailed an entire courtroom because no one would cough to being the owner of a ringing mobile phone has been removed from the bench by a commission on judicial conduct.

Judge Robert Restaino, 48, was hearing a domestic violence case in Niagara Falls on 11 March 2005 when he heard the offending phone and "snapped", as the BBC puts it.

According to the commission's report, he told the courtroom: "Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now. If anybody believes I'm kidding, ask some of the folks that have been here for a while. You are all going."

After security officers unsuccessfully tried to find the device, Restaino ordered a short recess. When he returned to the bench, he asked the phone's owner to 'fess up. Receiving no reply, he "ordered that the entire courtroom audience of 46 people be taken into custody and set bail at $1,500".

Restaino said: "This troubles me more than any of you people can understand. This person, whoever he or she may be, doesn't have a whole lot of concern. Let's see how much concern they have when they are sitting in the back there with all the rest of you.

"Ultimately, when you go back there to be booked, you've got to surrender what you got on you. One way or another, we're going to get our hands on something."

One of those present reportedly said: "This is not fair to the rest of us." Restaino replied: "I know it isn't."

The 46 prisoners were taken to to Niagara City jail, where they were "searched and packed into crowded cells". Fourteen unfortunates who couldn't stump bail were "later shackled and transported to another prison".

Judge Restaino ordered their release only later that afternoon when reporters "began to ask questions about the ruling".

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct yesterday recommended the removal of Judge Restaino for what its chairman described as "two hours of inexplicable madness". The commission said he had acted "without any semblance of a lawful basis" and had conducted himself like a "petty tyrant".

The judge admitted to the commission that he'd known that he had no legal basis for his actions, which he classified as "improper and inexcusable". In mitigation, he told the panel he'd "been under stress in his personal life at the time of the incident".

The commission's administrator, Robert Tembekjian, was unmoved, saying there could be "no excuse" for the mass jailing, and that the fundamental rights of 46 people had been "deliberately and methodically violated".

According to AP, the judge's lawyer said Restaino "would exercise his right to appeal the decision within 30 days", during which time he will remain in office. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.