People v. Zackery:
During a proceeding about a guilty plea in state trial court, a trial judge made a dismissive comment to the prosecutor about needing to follow a particular procedure to avoid reversal by appellate courts. "Oh, that’s right," the Judge remarked, "You can’t offend the kangaroos up there in kangaroo court." On appeal following a guilty plea, the intermediate appellate court went out of its way to scold the trial judge for making the comment. Here is the passage from the appellate court's opinion in People v. Zackery, which was selected for publication in relevant part:
  In making his "kangaroo court" remark, on the record in open court, Judge Saiers violated Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Ethics, which provides as pertinent: "A JUDGE SHALL UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY. [¶] An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be preserved. The provisions of this Code are to be construed and applied to further that objective." (Cal. Code Jud. Ethics, canon 1.)
  . . .
  Reading a little between the lines, it appears that Judge Saiers’s "kangaroo court" remark was provoked by his frustration not being able to dispose of a pending case in a way he thought sensible. It would appear that, in his eyes, this court was a naive, ivory-tower, obstructionist, oblivious to the real-world problems of trial courts faced with staggering caseloads.
  This view is not accurate.
  As former trial judges, we have all experienced the stressful crush of pending cases. We are also aware of the desperate plight of the San Joaquin County Superior Court, which, until recently, had not been allocated a new judicial position in two decades, despite significant population increases and rising caseloads. (Meath, New Judges for San Joaquin County? XXI Across the Bar (Sept. 2006) p. 9.) But trial judges must understand this overarching fact about the Court of Appeal: despite our awareness of and sympathy for your plight, we have no warrant to disregard the law. Rather, we have all taken an oath to enforce it.
  And so, if a trial judge violates the law, even in the name of short-term efficiency, matters are simply made worse. Things have to be done again. More lawyers must be hired, more judges involved, more transportation of prisoners, etc. All at taxpayer expense. It is more expensive to do things twice than to do them once correctly. The truth of the matter is that Judge K. Peter Saiers has wasted taxpayers' dollars.
(emphasis added)

  It goes without saying that the trial judge's comment was completely inappropriate. At the same time, doesn't it seem somewhat unwise for the appellate court to take offense in such a public way? My own impression, at least on a first read, is that the passage reads like a judicial tit-for-tat. As Shaun Martin points out, the latter bolded portion "appears almost purposefully amenable for use by a challenger the next time Judge Saiers has to run for reelection." Now, maybe that was deserved; I don't know anything about the trial judge, or the appellate panel, or the history between them. But if the appellate court was concerned with maintaining the integrity of the judiciary, I'm not entirely sure this opinion was the best way to do it.

  Do you disagree? I would be particularly interested to know if you think I'm missing the boat here.

  Hat tip: Howard.