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September 4, 2008

The start of a sex offender sunglasses jurisprudence

Hart Thanks to How Appealing, I saw this fascinating article from the New Jersey Law Journal headlined "Judge Spooked by Sex Offender's Donning of Sunglasses Is Dressed Down on Appeal."  Here is the start of the NJLJ article (which includes a link to the opinion):

A New Jersey judge's apparent obsession with a sex offender's wearing of sunglasses in court is ground for a new hearing on whether his involuntary civil commitment should continue, a state appellate court ruled on Wednesday.

The Essex County judge's repeated insistence that the man remove his glasses despite his and a doctor's assertions that they were a medical necessity puts her fairness into question, the panel said in In re Civil Commitment of S.B.M., A-2384-07.

I wonder if Corey Hart should be called as an expert witness in the next big sunglasses case.

September 4, 2008 at 09:37 AM | Permalink


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Where do they find these judges? Especially outrageous given that was a "civil commitment" (placed in quotes due to the Supreme Court's Hendricks decision which seems to conflate criminal and civil processes in the sex offender context and the fact that many states simply follow DOC practice and do not acknowledge that the sex offenders are there for treatment and thus the 14th Amendment standard of care applies rather than the 8th Amendment) hearing meaning that SMB is supposed to being treated in accordance with the Youngberg "professional judgment" standard. For a judge to directly contradict what the medical chart says in a "civil commitment" hearing shows a complete lack of proper judicial temperment and that at a minimum she should not be hearing those types of cases and perhaps should not be hearing any cases at all.

Posted by: Zack | Sep 4, 2008 10:18:22 AM

It's far too typical of judges to "rule" their courtroom and act as if they will never answer to anyone. The states must increase judicial oversight and keep track of the goings on in courtrooms. Judges may suffer if someone is always looking over their shoulder, but how could this defendant receive justice when the judge was so over the top with his reaction?

Posted by: Joe | Sep 4, 2008 10:42:17 AM

I understand the judges problem. People donning sunglasses while being dressed down are the creepiest. it just screams criminal.

Posted by: Glass of OJ | Oct 14, 2008 3:49:22 PM

Not good that Country judge to strike down law banning same-sex marriages. :(

Posted by: Toronto personal injury | Jan 16, 2009 8:26:44 AM

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