Discussion: Judge Tells Jury 'Put Aside' His Criticism of Manafort Trial Prosecutors

Lacks judicial temperament?

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cue the Faux News “Judge admits error! Mistrial must be declared! Argle bargle!” propaganda.

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No, just being an asshole. The judge should shut up and oversee the trial and be careful no to scold both the prosecution and the defence. Both sides need an impartial judge: not a self-absorbed jurist.

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If invoked the normal rule is witnesses are not permitted in the courtroom prior to their testimony. In this case somebody had invoked the rule but the prosecution had asked for permission to have this expert watch the proceedings. The court had considered the request and had permitted the witness to watch the proceedings. When the witness was called, it is obvious judge cranky had forgotten his specific permission. The judge did screw up.

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Wow, something’s clearly wrong with this judge. His temperament is way off.

The transcript clearly shows he was wrong but his statement to the jury is “I may well have been wrong”. No dude. You WERE wrong. There is no “may have been” here. You were just plain wrong.

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As is so often the case, here we have a judge whose desperate desire to control all that happens in his courtroom leads him to lose control over himself. That’s a sure sign a judge needs to be retired.

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Judge Drama Queen needs to get his vanity in check and pay attention to what the hell he is doing. It’s as if he can’t comprehend the magnitude of importance this trial represents because he can’t fucking get out of his own way.

We as a nation really need to take a deep and serious look into these lifetime judge positions and decide if that is really such a good idea.

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Last evening Rachel interviewed a well known US attorney who had tried several cases in front of Ellis. He indicated Ellis has been this way his entire career. Nothing special going on here. He noted that the Prosecution has recovered nicely from Ellis’s previous abuse. The problem with Federal judges is they are appointed for life. You just can’t get rid of them. Being Federal judges they tend to think of themselves as being infallible. That makes things worse when a cranky old man behaves like a cranky old man.

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This judge, and his God complex, needs to be removed from such a serious case.

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“I may well have been wrong”?

No. You were wrong in admonishing the prosecutors. A curative instruction would have been, “After reviewing the record, I see that on the first day of trial the prosecution properly got my permission to allow their witness, Mr. Welch, to be in the courtroom during all testimony. I made a mistake in admonishing and criticizing the prosecution and possibly the witness yesterday. That was wrong on my part, and the jury should ignore my improper comments.”

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Good move by the prosecutors. I tend to agree with Renato Marriotti’s analysis that while the Judge has been rude and out of bounds with the prosecutors verbally, his actual rulings have favored the prosecution. Speeding up the trial is a big benefit to Mueller because he has a great evidentiary case.

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If this were a Law and Order episode, some Circuit Judge would now be telling Ellis that he was about to come down with the flu, and would have to be replaced, the alternative being a hearing before a commission on judicial conduct.

Berating the prosecutors is one thing. But the instances in which Ellis has effectively called a witness a liar are something entirely different. The judge is not the trier of fact. Telling the jury which witnesses should be believed, and which shouldn’t, is outrageous.

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I know TPM had this up yesterday but,

http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/400988-fox-news-analyst-judge-in-manafort-trial-showing-extraordinary-bias

Could something odd being going on with thus judge or is he, and his record, suggest he is just a crank? Certainly, something that needs a close inspection of his record. This trial has the benefit of being quick, and of course there is the other case for Manafort, but this judges actions appear to taint the governments case in the eye of the jury, I just don’t see how that is his job, or how it is permissible in federal court. Is it just that judges get a lot of lee-way when it comes to their antics in the courtroom? His actions appear to district from the objective facts presented in the case, “no eye roll”.

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I thought the lawyer last night on Rachel’s show was quite interesting. He had argued in front of Judge Ellis for many years and so he sort of calmed my nerves about this guy. But I still am worried about this judge. Clearly, his credentials are impeccable and even impressive. People keep referring to him as a brilliant jurist and I think that is probably true.

But it is also true that he’s a grumpy old man and his grumpiness may get in the way of justice if he’s not careful. Two nights ago on Rachel’s show, Barbara McQuade made the point that there’s no do over for the prosecution if the judge screws it up. The defendant can always appeal a guilty verdict, but the prosecution doesn’t get a do over or a second chance because of the double jeopardy rules. So it’s really important that this judge gets it right. He needs to set his anger aside.

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I guess the asshole reads the papers.

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Regardless of the jury’s verdict, we know who this trial’s loser is. He’ll be gone by this time next year.

That provision in the Constitution is almost an offhand remark - “they get to stay in office as long as they behave.” Maybe when life expectancies were shorter, it made sense, but it’s become a problem. Judges shouldn’t serve at the whim of the political process - they need some freedom to follow their consciences. But maybe ten year appointments, subject to renewal, would be sufficient to protect their independence. As it is, some hack gets on the bench (see Thomas, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh), and the country is saddled with him for decades.

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Note he was also very complimentary of Ellis. Basically, Ellis is a character, but a very sharp legal mind and going up against Ellis can make you a better lawyer. I have heard this said earlier about him.

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Let the record show that Judge Ellis is a jerk.

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