Bad Judgment?

Here in Florida, the judges on county courts and state circuit courts are elected by the voters. Indeed, a lot of the mail I've processed lately has been campaign literature for judicial candidates. I don't know how they do it in Indiana, but I would not vote for the judge in the following AP story:

Judge Detains 5 Over Ringing Cell Phone

CROWN POINT, Ind. - A judge detained and questioned a row of spectators when a cell phone rang for a third time in her courtroom, later ordering two people to serve community service for contempt of court.

When no one admitted having the ringing phones Wednesday, Lake County Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell told all five people in the row to sit in chairs reserved for jail inmates. They stayed there for more than an hour until the morning court call ended.

Boswell found three people in contempt of court because they initially refused to say who had the ringing phones.

Cynthia Cannon of Gary agreed to pay a $100 fine after admitting that her phone was one of those that went off. The judge ordered her to do community service, but Cannon declined, saying she can't work or sit for long periods of time due to a disability.

Verdell Berry Jr., of Merrillville, said he had two phones. One was off, the other he turned off when Boswell warned the gallery about the phones. The sound of it powering down is what she heard, Berry said.

He admitted he didn't speak up to explain that when Boswell first asked.

Shonique Freeman, of Gary, said she knew it was Berry's phone, but she didn't offer the information, either.

Boswell ordered both Berry and Freeman to serve 40 hours of community service.

"The next time you come to court, don't bring your cell phone," Boswell said. "And when the court asks a question, answer the question."

Now, I don't have a problem with the judge punishing the boorish behavior of the cell phone owners. They should have turned the phones off before going into the courtroom, and pretty much deserved what they got. However, I have to question the judge's cognitive ability, because after she made Ms. Cannon sit in a chair for over an hour, the woman tells her "I have a disability that won't let me work or sit for long periods of time" and the judge believed it! And so Ms. Cannon gets off with a $100 fine, while the other two have forty hours of community service. I'll tell you, my time is worth a hell 0f a lot more than $2.50 an hour, so I'd rather pretend to be a gimp and pay the fine, too. Sorry, Judge, I don't think you're bright enough to be interpreting the law.