Everyone knows the wheels of justice can grind slowly. Sometimes frustratingly so. And things don’t always go the way you’d like them to. But that’s something a judge just needs to sack up and deal with. There are good reasons that one of the criteria on which jurists are evaluated is their judicial temperament. We don’t know who judges judges in North Georgia, but it seems highly likely that Lumpkin County Superior Court Judge David Barrett’s judicial temperament rating is gonna take a hit in his next evaluation . . .
Barrett seemed put out during a bond hearing on Wednesday for a former sheriff’s deputy, Scott Sugarman, who’d been arrested on rape and assault charges. From ajc.com:
The woman who filed the charges against Sugarman was on the witness stand and had testified Sugarman had abused her and, on one occasion, had put a gun to her head. During the latter part of her testimony, the woman was not being cooperative, Langley said.
Barrett told the woman she was “killing her case” and pulled out his gun and, feigning to offer it to her, said, “You might as well shoot your lawyer,” [District Attorney Jeff] Langley said.
It’s hard not to sympathize with Judge Barrett, at least a little bit. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with an attorney – let alone someone like His Honor who has to contend with them on a daily basis – can certainly understand the judge’s desire to see one plugged. But whipping out his piece in open court may not be the preferred way to express that sentiment. But that’s just us.
And maybe the only thing worse than his judgement in choosing to display his pistol in open court were the maddened magistrate’s gunhandling habits.
The woman’s lawyer, Andrea Conarro of Dahlonega, on Saturday described the scene, as Barrett swept the pistol across the courtroom, “as one of those slow motion kind of events.”
It took a few words from District Attorney Langley to get the Barrett to put the heater back under his robes. The good news: it’s legal under Georgia law for judges to pack heat in a courtroom. The bad news: pointing it at someone – as in sweeping the courtroom – is another matter.
Meanwhile, the local Judicial Qualifications Commission has launched an investigation into the judge’s behavior. And while that process will likely drag out, the IGOTD jury needs no further deliberation, your honor. We hereby find the defendant, Judge David Barrett, guilty of being our latest Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day. And we sentence the annoyed adjudicator to display his award prominently in his courtroom for a period of not less than ninety days. Case dismissed.
During the decline and fall of the republic that used to be the United States, one has to phlegmatically look for the few positive facts we have left.
In this case, we can say “At least His Honor wasn’t using a penis pump while court was in session.”
pulling a gun is not the worst thing this judge has done. He’s run rough shod over his courtroom for a long time. Most of his shenanigans don’t hit the news. And guess what ,it was a squashed investigation as usual. If you want to be a crook,get a judgeship.
On my blog I called for his disbarment and loss of gun rights. I can’t wait to see what the AI has to say.
I’m not sure what the consequences would be (if he is charged–judges get treated better than cops by the justice system), but His Honor doesn’t seem to have the kind of judgement one would expect of his position.
I don’t know if you are aware of this but in most states judges are members of the privileged elite that can carry wherever they want, just like the police. The very same people that you believe should be the only ones allowed to posses guns.
True enough, but it would take some serious wordsmithing to get brandishing under that umbrella.
Loss of gun rights based on what statute, Mike?
It’s a new thing called “One-strike-you’re-out.” You can read all about it on my blog.
Don’t pull it out unless you’re going to use it. Don’t use it unless you
are justified in doing so. Looks like the judge is guilty on both counts,
and gave some “ammo” to the anti-gun left by doing so. That is why his
actions are condemned here, by responsible gun owners.
I worked in HAll county Courts which is essentially next door to Lumpkin County and knew Judge Barrett in 2008-2009, good guy, not sure what possessed him to do that. I believe the only crime he may have committed since it is legal for him to have the gun in court would be some sort of brandishing charge or endangerment charge, both misdemeanors in Georgia and not enough to have one stripped of their 2nd. Although some may believe he will get preferential treatment, judges usually are held to a higher standard as another judge knows the spotlight is on any case involving another judge and would not want to seem bias. I’m going to call some friends in the court system and hear whats going on with this.
Come on, folks, the judge was just demonstrating his knowledge of classic literature – paraphrasing Shakespeare.
“You might as well shoot your lawyer.”
Sounds like sound legal advice to me.
Once again, Judge David Barrett’s ability to become Michael Barrett by the end of the article displays his willingness to change, so there is hope. As for people who are glad the judge wasn’t doing something less violent but more obscene, I can only commend the reading of the law case 515 P.2d at 1.
Oops. Text amended.
I’m not defending the judge (I think he was in the wrong), but no one is quoted as saying that he pointed the gun at anyone. Pulling it out and offering it to her does not require sweeping it across the courtroom and the only time it is suggested is before the overly dramatic quote by the lawyer who the judge implied is so incompetent that she should be shot. If he was waiving the gun around or it had been pointed at anyone I do not think the DA would have calmly walked up to the bench and told the judge to put his pistol away. The Atlanta Urinal Constipation is known to add dramatic flare to their articles. I’ll wait to hear the whole story from a trustworth source.
I’m not defending the judge, but…..
Why am I not surprised by your selectively ignoring the parts that contradict your opinion? Oh yeah, because it’s your standard operating procedure.
Actually, they did… attorney Dan Summer who was questioning alleged victim, said he didn’t like have the gun pointed at him.
“You might as well shoot your lawyer,” [District Attorney Jeff] Langley said.
Sound legal advice at times.
Does not sound like legal advice, IT IS LEGAL ADVICE
It is interesting that all the statements about Judge Barrett being a “good guy” come from people who have worked with the judge, and could perhaps benefit from saying so. Try having him be the judge on your case, your opinion of him would be completely opposite. He is a man who thoroughly enjoys belittlement, wrongly and inappropriately using his authority and rubbing it in your face. If only his utter craziness would have gotten the best of him sooner…
I’ve known this nutjob Barrett for 25 years. Barrett is mentally unstable and if he had not been the lawyer who helped Zell Miller hide the Cayman accounts of Miller’s bank during the drug-money laundering days, Miller would not have appointed him to be a judge.