Which one went over the edgethe lawyer who muttered to a court official that the judge should "get the f--- off all my cases"? Or the judge who held the lawyer in contempt and sentenced him to jail for that utterance?
As a New Yorker, it's hard to believe that anyone can be so rattled by profanity. Plus, I believe in the therapeutic benefits of cursing. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit doesn't share my view. It upheld the conviction and four-month jail sentence of South Carolina lawyer Robert Peoples for using the four-letter word to describe his feelings to a court official (he was upset that judge Cameron McGowan Currie had dismissed a civil rights suit because of his tardiness to court). Here's the court's reasoning, reports The National Law Journal:
"He targeted a judge, using profane language directed at the judge so that she would remove herself from his cases," Judge Diana Motz wrote in the Fourth Circuit opinion. "Thus, Peoples did more than merely utter profane words; he profanely threatened judicial authority."
Okay, granted Peoples didn't use the most elegant turn of phrase to describe his frustration with the judge. But he uttered the F-word in an empty courtroom. Is this really a threat to the administration of justice? Isn't all this mess a colossal waste of time? (Peoples is now petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out his conviction.)
I mean, don't you think the judge is the one who's a tad thin-skinned? Seriously, I don't think she'd survive a day in New York.