On the day she imposed two 25 to life sentences, judge conducts marriage ceremony for the killer

Eric M. Freedman, the Maurice A. Deane Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra University, sent me this link. It is a “must” read if you are interested in thinking about the proper role of trial judges who must sentence people.

Should a judge marry an offender who was convicted of killing another person when that judge presided over the trial and imposed two consecutive 25-year to life terms on the offender?  Does it matter that the marriage ceremony was held on the same day the sentences were imposed?  Does it matter that the victim’s family members were escorted out of the courtroom after the sentencing hearing and prior to the start of the marriage ceremony? Does it matter that the judge baked a cake for the couple? Does it matter that the offender is likely to appeal?

Here’s my quick (not well thought out) take. Primarily out of concern for the victim’s family, I doubt I would have done what this state judge did. I also doubt that there was anything legally or ethically improper about the judge’s compassionate behavior. In fact, I admire her.

What do you think?


PS Many thanks to Professor Freedman!

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