Judge Disarms Officers Who Showed Up To Testify, Because Guns…
Judge Disarms Officers Who Showed Up To Testify, Because Guns Are Scary Looking
La Crosse County Circuit Judge Ramona Gonzalez disarmed officers called to testify in a battery case. Her reasoning is because jurors who have had a traumatic experience with a firearm could see the officer’s gun. Those people could then be suddenly compelled to find somebody guilty of a crime.. Or something. It doesn’t make sense to us either.
Anne Jungen with La Crosse Tribune reported that on Tuesday, three La Crosse officers showed up to court to testify against a suspect who had assaulted one of the officers. Upon their arrival, Judge Gonzalez ordered that they be disarmed because their guns were a distraction and could be grounds for an appeal.
Police Chief Ron Tischer didn’t mince words when speaking to Jungen, “How many court cases have been appealed due to an officer wearing a duty belt with a weapon exposed? I’ve never heard of one.”
Judge Gonzalez said that she disarms officers every time she has a jury, pointing out that Federal Courts have rules against firearms. She seemed to ignore the facts that Federal Court rules don’t make sense either, and she’s a circuit court judge, not federal.
Jungen got another Judge to speak on the matter, “I believe there is general agreement that officers are permitted to carry firearms, the exception being in front of a jury,” Circuit Judge Scott Horne said. “The concern has been expressed regarding an intimidating atmosphere and that may be the most common circumstance in which weapons may not be permitted. For many years, they had been denied entirely.”
In 2012 a policy was adopted about firearms in the courtroom, and since that agreement, this is the first time that La Crosse officers were told to disarm.
“You can never have just one person armed,” Chief Tischer said. “When you take away all an officer’s tools, it puts everyone at a significant risk and you’re forcing them to potentially use a higher level of force than they would otherwise be able to use had they had all their equipment available to them.”
This isn’t Judge Gonzalez’s first controversial move. Last year, Jungen reported that Judge Gonzalez helped deliver a criminal’s car back to him after he was repeatedly stopped for driving it recklessly.
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