Jefferson district judge reprimanded for making inappropriate comments from the bench


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LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — A Jefferson district judge has been publicly reprimanded by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission for making inappropriate comments in court.

The Courier-Journal reports ( the order issued on Monday says Judge Sandra McLaughlin's comments from the bench brought her impartiality into question and violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The newspaper had earlier reported that McLaughlin has addressed numerous defendants at their arraignments as if they had already been found guilty.

For example, while arraigning a defendant charged with stabbing his wife, McLaughlin said, "She should have cut you." The defendant turned out to be innocent. The Louisville Metro Police surgeon determined the alleged victim's wounds were self-inflicted.

McLaughlin said to another defendant, who was charged with theft: "So that's your job? Stealing from people when you clean their house?"

The commission found that McLaughlin violated a rule requiring judges to be "patient, dignified and courteous to litigants" and another rule that says a judge "shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice."

The commission said McLaughlin cooperated in its investigation and had no prior infractions. She did not contest the order, which said she acknowledged the inappropriate comments.

McLaughlin's lawyer, Brian Butler, said the judge is glad the process is over and "looks forward to moving forward and continuing to represent the people of Jefferson County."

Information from: The Courier-Journal,

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