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A US judge is facing suspension after calling a man an 'a**hole' and telling him to 'shut up' in court. You can watch the clip in the report below:
The Florida Judicial Qualification Commission recommended that Wayne Culver, judicial candidate for Seminole County, Florida, step down from his position for 60 days without pay and take anger management sessions due to his tirade, which unfolded in February.
In a video shared by the Florida Supreme Court, an attendant can be seen walking into a Seminole County courtroom and trying to find a seat.
The man – identified as 50-year-old Kevin Newton – starts talking, causing Culver to pause proceedings to say: "Sir, I’m doing something. Can you shut up and sit down?"
Newton explains, 'Absolutely, I'm trying to find a seat,' to which the judge angrily replies, 'That’s not shutting up'.
He continues, "You want to be held in contempt and go to jail? I asked you a f**king question, a**hole," before Newton says, "No, sir."
Culver, who has been on the bench since January 2021, finishes by saying, 'Then shut up.'
Newton's sister Sabrina was also in court that day, and she told FOX 35 Orlando that the judge's outburst was unacceptable.
"There was blue tape on the benches, so we didn’t know where to sit because of Covid," she said.
"This judge let his personal feelings take over. I was scared to react in any kind of way because I didn’t want to go to jail!"
This is the second time Culver has been called up on his behaviour in court, the first incident unfolding in January this year when he unlawfully sentenced another man to 537 days in jail for contempt of court.
Documents filed by Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission state that in this case, the defendant interrupted the court's petitioner.
Culver was reported to have told him that the court's words were 'the most important words you'll ever hear as long as you live as an organism on this planet', before threatening to sentence him for so long they'd 'have to have the jail re-named after [him]'.
The report states: "Both instances were propelled by, not only a failure to de-escalate, but the judge’s own rapid escalation of the confrontation through sarcasm, yelling, cursing, or other injudicious behaviour."
Culver apologised to Newton during his hearing, with the commission adding that 'he regrets that his conduct reflects negatively on the judiciary and the judicial system'.
As well as the 60-day suspension, the judge was given a public reprimand and urged to complete an anger management course and stress management counselling.
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