Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Blog remarks cost substitute judge

I found this story from Las Vegas thru Governing.com...
A substitute judge lost his position with the North Las Vegas Justice Court last week because of hostile comments aimed at prosecutors on his MySpace page.

Among the personal interests listed by Jonathan MacArthur, a 34-year-old criminal defense attorney, was: "Breaking my foot off in a prosecutor's ass ... and improving my ability to break my foot off in a prosecutor's ass."

MacArthur began blogging and posting pictures on the online community site last spring.

His MySpace page caught the attention of Clark County District Attorney David Roger, who went to the North Las Vegas Justice Court administrator and asked that MacArthur be recused from criminal cases as a substitute jurist, or judge "pro tem."

"It's obvious to the casual reader this is an overstatement just for the effect," MacArthur said, describing the comment as a reference to his work as a criminal defense attorney and not to his mind-set as a judge.

"It's funny that I emphasize it again," he said.

But local prosecutors aren't laughing.

"He has displayed a bias against prosecutors," Roger said Friday. "Therefore, I do not feel the state of Nevada would get a fair shake by him."

Roger spoke with North Las Vegas Justice Court Administrator Terri March last week about MacArthur's MySpace comments.

Roger said he told March that if MacArthur continued as a substitute judge, he planned to file a motion to have MacArthur recused from all criminal cases.

Roger e-mailed all prosecutors asking them to notify him immediately if MacArthur presided over one of their cases so that Roger could have him recused.

"I don't think he'll be sitting as a pro-tem judge any longer," Roger's e-mail said.

He was right.

March showed the MySpace comments to North Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Natalie Tyrrell, for whom MacArthur substituted. They decided not to use MacArthur's services any longer, March said.

"A judge's job is to be unbiased in all matters, and on that MySpace page, it appears he definitely has a bias against prosecutors," March said.

The comments were inappropriate and "unbecoming of a pro tem," March said.

MacArthur, who previously was a substitute in Las Vegas Justice Court, believes the district attorney's office is taking the statement out of context and is working to sabotage his shot at the bench.

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