690Infected With Black Robe Disease
- Mar 28, 2003J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California March 28, 2003
Infected With Black Robe DiseaseWe have been sending you reports of the recent shenanigans of justice dispensers in Albany who enjoy the benefits of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. Now even Times Union columnist Fred LeBrun is writing about a "pitbull" judge who is "...infected by the black robe disease" and its effect upon the community.Will the Commission on Judicial Conduct view Coleman's conduct as unbecoming of a judge? At the very least, an admonition is in order. How else will Cheryl Coleman know that her behavior was inappropriate? We remind you that the incident did not occur at a library or museum, but at a ROCK CONCERT.Ron LoeberJAILer-In-ChiefNew York J.A.I.L.http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=115976&category=LEBRUN&BCCode=OLOCL&newsdate=3/16/2003Coleman's not only one discreditedBy Fred LeBrun ~ Times Union ~ Albany, NY ~ Sunday, March 16, 2003Cheryl Coleman has screwed up big time.
As in recently elected Albany City Court Judge Cheryl Coleman. In a bizarre and inappropriate confrontation with four fans at a Bon Jovi concert at Pepsi Arena the other night, Coleman managed in one short evening to bring great discredit to herself, strain the credibility of the Albany Police Department and the city's judiciary, and consequently embarrass our fair city.
The shouting, poking and pushing event that started it all is murky in the details. Four women from Orange County, in the their 20s and 30s, were caught up in the concert, and perhaps more than a touch belligerent. Coleman and her boyfriend, Larry Walley, who works security at RPI, were bothered by the four and got into an argument with them. One sweet word led to another and, before long, security was called -- by one of the four women. Coleman, not once but twice, pulled out her business card with "Judge Cheryl Coleman" on it to "educate" the four.
Apparently, Coleman then somehow persuaded the security guard who showed up to deliver the four women to an Albany cop. A complaint was filed, essentially on the strength of her position and say-so, and the four were arrested.
Coleman subsequently said that the incident was unsettling, that she and Walley had tried to avoid a confrontation and that they had availed themselves "of the same rights that any citizen should have and that was to involve law enforcement."
All I can say is I hope Cheryl Coleman got a great deal on business cards.
At this point, let's put the camera on pause, and look at this ridiculous scene.
What judge in his or her right mind would get caught in this situation, except one so infected by the black robe disease that he or she has totally lost perspective?
Any other judge I know, seeing how this confrontation was deteriorating, would have weighed the heat of the moment against law degree, career and the dignity of the bench and quickly walked away. Sorry for the misunderstanding folks; good night.
But no, not Coleman, who apparently can't shake off her manner as a former pitbull assistant Albany County district attorney. She was a terrific, relentless prosecutor. But those are not necessarily the traits you look for in an impartial referee, which is the definition of a judge. So. Let's roll the camera again. Four women were then caught in a low-level nightmare. At least two were handcuffed to a bench to await arraignment. City Court Judge Will Carter was reluctantly drawn in as well, setting bail at $1,000 each. Judge Carter, who is Coleman's colleague on the bench, never should have touched this case, but should have recused himself instead, as all the City Court judges did eventually.
Paper work supposedly was lost, so there were a few hours of jail time. Ominous hints persist that maybe the four were being taught a lesson because they mucked around with a judge. Boy, if that doesn't stink from top to bottom.
Besides, on its worst day, such an altercation between fans at the Pepsi would have netted no worse than an appearance ticket for a violation. Now these four have been dramatically overcharged with misdemeanors -- all because of Coleman.
I'm convinced, after reading the statements sworn to by Coleman and Walley and talking to some of those who know the case, that everything evolved from Coleman's insistent intervention -- not the "crimes" involved. The arrests that the cops would have preferred not to make and usually don't. The awkward involvement of Judge Carter. The time and cost of Albany cops, transportation in the police wagon, the court.
All over a silly non-event foisted on us by an arrogant judge with much to learn before those robes fit right.
Contact Fred LeBrun at 454-5453.