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Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Judge sanctioned for handcuffing teenager

In March 2023, Steve and I had an exchange about Judge Benitez (S.D. Cal.), who probationee's daughter handcuffed and placed in the jury box during a revocation hearing, purportedly to teach the girl a life lesson. Steve and I debated whether judicial immunity would protect Benitez in a damages action and Steve worried that he would suffer no real consequences.

Fourteen months later, we have something: The Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit reprimanded Benitez; prohibited Benitez from taking new criminal cases for three years;* and allowed defendants in pending or future probation-revocation hearings to move to recuse Benitez, with the motion going to the Chief District Judge.

[*] Relatively meaningless, because Benitez took senior status in 2017 and no longer takes new criminal cases.

I leave it to those who study judicial ethics to opine on whether any of this constitutes "real consequences."

Posted by Howard Wasserman on May 1, 2024 at 04:04 PM in Howard Wasserman, Judicial Process | Permalink


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