Chicopee John Posted November 24, 2008 Report Share Posted November 24, 2008 IMHO, a white person who did something similar would be tarred and feathered on national TV. As it is, this paper won't even acknowledge this happened. Thankfully one of their columnists decided to make this (more) public. RECORDED AT STATION No Excusing Judge's Racist Tirade Kevin Rennie | NOW YOU KNOW November 23, 2008 Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa R. Cofield's arrest on suspicion of drunken driving saddened the legal community. Lawyers who have appeared before her could expect her to reach and deliver persuasive decisions that left all parties feeling they had been treated fairly. So surprise has soured into shock as the carefully guarded story of the racist tirade Judge Cofield unleashed at police during her arrest has become known to a handful of insiders. A former prosecutor, Judge Cofield was arrested on Oct. 9 when the BMW she was driving on Route 2 in Glastonbury struck a state police cruiser on the shoulder of the highway. Police took Judge Cofield to the nearby Glastonbury police station to administer the tests usually given to drivers suspected of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The Glastonbury station, like most modern stations, is equipped with video and audio recording devices that preserve the interaction between police and citizens. It is for everyone's protection that an unblinking record be made of what happens in the police station. The police have declined to release the recording of the ordeal Judge Cofield inflicted on law enforcement officers that unhappy night. Judge Cofield has applied for admission to the Alcohol Education Program, which is available to first-time offenders under most circumstances, so her court file is sealed. Kevin Rennie Kevin Rennie Bio | E-mail | Recent columns Judge Cofield was a difficult arrest even for police officers who are accustomed to handling people who are drunk. The stark, unfamiliar surroundings of a police station subdue most suspects who've been taken from their car to the booking room. But Judge Cofield was angry, not somber. Her anger, according to people familiar with that harrowing night in Glastonbury, came spewing out in a torrent of vituperation that left no one who was in the room or who has seen the recording unaffected. One of alcohol's most pernicious effects is how it shreds our internal filters. Maybe that's why Judge Cofield, an African American, repeatedly taunted a decorated state police sergeant, calling him "N*****" and "Negro Washington." Judge Cofield attempted to intimidate, demean and humiliate others in the room. Whatever dwelled in her that alcohol, or getting caught, ignited cannot be ignored. Trooper Michael Kowal was injured when Judge Cofield struck his cruiser. He also felt her vicious lash that night. He plans to object to Judge Cofield's application for the Alcohol Education Program. A judge is no ordinary suspect, even for the most experienced police officer. Judges, of course, are unaccustomed to being told what to do by the police. Judges hold a singular position of authority that conveys upon them respect, deference and distance accorded to no other class of public officials. The judges recognize their elevated position in our democratic society by imposing canons of conduct on themselves. Canon 2 of their code states, "A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all the judge's activities." That firm directive is accompanied by a commentary that says, "The judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny. The judge must therefore accept restrictions on his or her conduct that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and should do so freely and willingly." Respect for the judiciary and the rule of law is one of our essential common bonds. The approach of a judge is announced in the courtroom. We stand when the judge enters. We employ unique language when addressing them. We accept a disappointing decision with courtesy. Judge Cofield forfeited her right to wield the unique authority of a judge not because she drove drunk, but because she refused to treat others who suddenly possessed direct authority over her with a modicum of the respect her high office allows her to command. The judge who presides over her case at the court appearance scheduled for Monday should view the recording. The prosecutor should describe it. Judge Cofield should explain it. The Judicial Review Council should act. The rest of us can only shudder and wonder. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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