Judge Gerald Popeo will keep his job, even though he was heard openly using racist epithets against African American defendants. The Utica City, New York judge is accused of using the racial slur after a court session when he asked an African-American lawyer “do you know what New York City blacks call black people from upstate New York?”
The attorney just looked at him, apparently in shock that the judge would ask such an obviously problematic question. When the attorney had no response for the judge, Popeo answered: “country n*******.”
The judge thought his “joke”, apparently about a defendant, was hilarious. But the lawyer obviously did not.
For his part, Judge Popeo has vehemently denied making the racist “joke.”
But two separate lawyers claim to have heard this one-way exchange according to Syracuse.com.
Back in 2011, Popeo was caught referring to a prosecutor as a “cigar store Indian” …twice.
Why? The judge said he “should have been more aggressive” in court. Apparently the judge thought these types of racist comments were par for the court in the New York State justice system.
The same judge told public defender to “shut up” and then lashed out at a defendant, saying to him: “You’re standing there with a grin that I would love to get off the bench and slap off your face.”
In spite of all of this, the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct said that Popeo has never been racially insensitive with any these remarks, including the most recent, which it says must be disregarded as “hearsay,” even though it was witnessed by multiple attorneys.
The decision of the NYCJC reads: “While the record before us depicts a judge who holds defendants and lawyers to exacting standards of courtroom behavior and is quick to lecture them for perceived displays of disrespect…respondent’s own behavior fell short of the required standards.”
If you ever feel like the system isn’t fair… perhaps it’s because we have people like this making the rulings for the so-called “justice” system.
(Article by S. Wooten) Originally posted at http://countercurrentnews.com/2015/02/judge-keeps-job-after-calling-defendants-slurs/
Courts have at times tolerated the use of the term “nigger” in one or another of its variations. In the not too distant past, appellate courts have upheld convictions despite prosecutors’ references to black defendants and witnesses in such racist terms as “black rascal,” “burr-headed nigger,” “mean negro,” “big nigger,” “pickaninny,” “mean nigger,” “three nigger men,” “niggers,” and “nothing butjust a common Negro, [a] black whore.” See A. Leon Higginbotham,Jr., Racism in American and South African Courts: Similarities and Differences, 65 N.Y.U. L. REV. 479, 542-43 (1990).According to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Henry Brown v. East Miss. Elect. Power Ass’n, 989 F.2d 858, 861 (5th Cir. 1993) ruled that word Nigger is the “universally recognized opprobrium, stigmatizing African-Americans because of their race.”16 It’s the nuclear bomb of racial epithets – – as Farai Chideya has described the term.
In addition, at least one Justice of the Supreme Court, James McReynolds, was a “white supremacist” who referred to Blacks as “niggers.” See Randall Kennedy, Race Relations Law and the Tradition of Celebration: The Case of Professor Schmidt, 86 CoLUM. L. REV. 1622, 1641 (1986); see also David Burner,JamesMcReynolds, in 3 THEJUsTICES OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT 1789-1969, at 2023, 2024 (Leon Friedman & Fred L. Israel eds., 1969) (reviewingJustice McReynolds’s numerous lone dissents as evidence of blatant racism). In 1938, a landmark desegregation case was argued before the Supreme Court by Charles Hamilton Houston, the brilliant black lawyer who laid the foundation for Brown v. Board of Education. During Houston’s oral argument, McReynolds turned his back on the attorney and stared at the wall of the courtroom. Videotaped Statement ofJudge Robert Carter to Judge Higginbotham (August 1987) (reviewing his observation of the argument in Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938)). In his autobiography, Justice William 0. Douglas described how McReynolds received a rare, but well deserved comeuppance when he made a disparaging comment about Howard University. One day McReynolds went to the barbershop in the Court. Gates, the black barber, put the sheet around his neck and over his lap, and as he was pinning it behind him McReynolds said, “Gates, tell me, where is this nigger university in Washington, D.C.?” Gates removed the white cloth from McReynolds, walked around and faced him, and said in a very calm and dignified manner, “Mr. Justice, I am shocked that any Justice would call a Negro a nigger. There is a Negro college in Washington, D.C. Its name is Howard University and we are very proud of it.” McReynolds muttered some kind of apology and Gates resumed his work in silence.
No longer could a United States Senator say what Senator Benjamin Tillman of South Carolina said in anger when President Theodore Roosevelt invited a moderate Negro, Booker T. Washington, to lunch at the White House: “‘Now that Roosevelt has eaten with that nigger Washington, we shall have to kill a thousand niggers to get them back to their place. ‘ William A. Sinclair, THE AFTERMATH OF SLAVERY: A STUDY OF THE CONDITION AND ENVIRONMENT OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO 187 (Afro-Am Press 1969) (1905) (quoting Senator Benjamin Tillman).