In an entirely unsurprising decision handed down last month, the South Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that indeed it does constitute contempt of court for one to send a written document to a trial judge requesting that the judge kiss one's ass.
According to the report, Judith Law, a woman in St. Matthews, South Carolina, was required to sign a judge's order revoking her probation, to which she had been sentenced after pleading guilty to burglary charges in 2003. She admitted violating her probation and so the five-year sentence was reinstated. Presented with the order and having to sign to show she had received it, Law did sign but also added her own flourish, namely a request that her buttocks be osculated by its author, Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein. Although typically such a document would not be returned to the judge personally, Law allegedly asked the probation officer to do so.
Goodstein declined Law's invitation, and instead found her in contempt of court. Law challenged that ruling, saying the conduct had not occurred in court and took place outside the judge's presence. Appeal denied. "No matter where Law signed the revocation order," the court wrote, "her conduct was in the presence of the judge" for purposes of contempt. The ruling affirms Judge Goodstein's penalty of an extra 90 days in jail for Law.
This is at least the second decision to find the phrase "kiss my ass" inappropriate when directed at a judge. The 1996 decision of Washington v. Alaimo, finding sanctions appropriate in part because of Mr. Washington's filing of a "Motion to Kiss My Ass" (also denied), is already part of Lowering the Bar's Case Law Hall of Fame.
Link: CBS News