No Forced Cheers in Court:

The Associated Press reports that the Washington State Commission on Judicial Conduct admonished Pierce County Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant for ordering those present in her courtroom to cheer "Go Seahawks" in anticipation of the Seattle Seahawks appearance in the Super Bowl. The action apparently offended a crime victim's relative who was in court.

Grant, who was appointed to the bench in 2003, apologized the following Monday. She eventually filed the formal conduct complaint against herself.

"Although my intentions were to defuse the courtroom situation, I realize now the inappropriateness of my opening comments," Grant told the commission.

Paddy (mail):
Who was it who said the law is an ass?
8.10.2006 1:40pm
Like everyone else, I guess, I'm amused by the story. But what I don't get is why the heck the judge filed a grievance against herself. I mean, she offended someone and apologized. That could have, and arguably should have, been the end of it. But no, she filed a grievance against herself. I don't know which is worse, the conduct complained of or the fact that a lot of effort went into investigating a self-complaint.
8.10.2006 2:17pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
I demand justice for the eraser I stole from myself when I was 6!
8.10.2006 2:36pm
Silicon Valley Jim:
Good for Judge Grant! It's heartening to see somebody who takes the rules governing her conduct this seriously.
8.10.2006 3:04pm
Cornellian (mail):
I assume her action in filing a complaint against herself is analogous to notifying the judicial regulator of her conduct, and not analagous to commencing a lawsuit against herself. In other words, such notification was entirely appropriate and the investigation required would have been quite minimal given that she was admitting to everything at the outset. She was clearly out of line but at least she realized it and came forward without being prompted to do so.
8.10.2006 4:43pm
BobH (mail):
She's ethically required to avoid not only impropriety, but also the appearance of impropriety. Doing what she did in the courtroom is an impropriety; had she seen another judge do it, not reporting it would have appeared to a reasonable outsider to be an impropriety; since she was duty-bound to avoid the appearance of impropriety, she was therefore duty-bound to report herself. Q.E.D.
8.10.2006 5:46pm
Who was it who said the law is an ass?
Beadle Bumble.

It doesn't strike me that the judge's behavior was inherently improper, but (a) the crime at hand was a serious one and (b) the date of the Superbowl happened to coincide with the date of the crime. In consequence, the victims relatives felt the levity was disrespectful. If it had been a jaywalking case, no one would have cared.

To me, it looks like a personal matter, to be solved with an apology, not a prefessional one, to be solved with a reprimand.
8.10.2006 7:11pm
BobH - How is it improper? Because it was an "order"? Could anyone clueless enough to consider it an order with the force of law distinguish between that a "Merry Christmas" issued from the bench - that compels a "Merry Christmas to you, too" with equal force to "everyone say 'Go Seahawks'".
8.10.2006 7:14pm
Eugene G. Bernat (mail):
I am not sure that a reasonable person would take the judge's comment as an order, other than perhaps that in jest. Nor do I think it was necessarily inappropriate. However, the fact Judge Grant thought it was and she had the integrity to report herself is worthy of high praise.
8.10.2006 7:33pm