Oregon Judge Timothy Barnack and the jury hearing the case of Richard Lee Taylor were disturbed and disgusted after sitting through hours of video tape evidence that showed the accused sexually abusing two twelve-year-old boys.
Taylor was a repeat offender on trial for 21 sex crimes. The jury found him guilty and Judge Barnack sentenced him to 21 life terms in prison with no possibility of parole.
To say the video evidence was shocking was an understatement. During the viewing, Judge Barnack stopped the video after some jurors began crying, while others later asked the Judge if the State would provide counselling to them to deal with the trauma of the evidence.
Judge Barnack was also visibly shaken. At the sentencing hearing Judge Barnack ask Mr. Taylor if he wished to say something. Taylor declined, whereafter the Judge told Taylor he was a “piece of shit” and asked him repeatedly if he wanted to salvage his soul.
Taylor did not reply and showed no remorse. One of Taylor’s young victims was in the courtroom. Then the Judge told Taylor that members of the public may wish to see him “hanging from a tree” and that he hoped he would “rot in prison”.
These emotional, intemperate words landed Judge Barnack in front of a Supreme Court Discipline Commission where the recently elected Judge agreed that his behavior violated ethics guidelines and consented to an order of censure against him.
As for me, I admire the spunkiness of this Judge who told Taylor what everyone in the courtroom wanted to say, but could not. Yes, I appreciate that the Judge’s words may have clashed with the usual decorum of a courtroom, however, Judges are human, they are not robots and in horrific cases they must be allowed some leeway.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang