Via Howard B., I read this report on a recent case before Michigan state trial court Judge Michael Martone. According the article, back in May ’05, high school teens were caught drinking at their prom. The school sanctioned them, but they were also sent to Judge Martone on charges of being a minor in possession of alcohol (a misdemeanor). Judge Martone apparently said from the bench (as the students were leaving, perhaps?): “There’s to be no alcohol [in the future.]”
Needless to say, the students went to college, drank, and classically, posted photos of themselves drunk on the web. The pictures were captioned, and some of the captions slurred Martone.
Judge Martone self-googled and found the page. I can’t seem to, which suggests something about our respective googling skills. “”They made a mockery of the legal system,” he said. “I had to do something.” He reported the students to their probation officers and the police, and had the students arrested for contempt of court. The charge: “disobeying [Martone’s] direct order not to consume alcohol.” The article tells us what happened next.
Martone began questioning [the student who created the internet page about it], why she created it, and what some of its symbols and profane words meant.
In an exchange of about 45 minutes, Martone reminded her to be honest, as [she] first evaded some questions [she was pro se], then admitted that her Web site did use profanity aimed at Martone, and that she had a drinking problem.
He sentenced her to 30 days in the Oakland County Jail. She was marched off in handcuffs, to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day behind bars.
Martone then sentenced [another student] to 15 days. The two become cellmates.
If this version of the facts is accurate, this story strikes me as deeply troubling on a number of levels.