At Fault Lines, Nebraska Senior District Court Judge Richard Kopf wrote of a state judge who refuses to allow testifying cop to wear their guns in court.
Since 2003, when he took the bench, Judge Jim Gleason has told cops that when they testify, the officers cannot carry a gun into his courtroom. He reasons that there are security risks and that a testifying witness carrying a gun can prejudice a jury. He notes that security is provided by armed county sheriffs. Now, all of a sudden, the cops have rebelled.
The cops didn’t like the order. They don’t like taking orders. Who does? But it’s the judge’s courtroom, and he gets to make the rules.
Whether you agree or disagree with the judge on cops packing heat when they testify, I hope every experienced lawyer (and judge) understands that a presiding judge must ultimately have the power to regulate his or her own courtroom when it comes to how witnesses must behave when they testify.
Your honor, you don’t understand cops on one, major issue.
They have to be in control. Always. Even in your courtroom.
The message here is that while a cop may give the appearance of ceding control to the judge, it’s a pretense, a ruse to pacify the judge, stay on his good side, while giving nothing away.
Then came the smack.
Courtrooms are completely safe all the time. Never has there been an attack in such a safe environment. Even if there was a threat, highly trained court deputies that know all about court security would spring into action, not some untrained bumbling city police officer! Good to see a judge with no law enforcement training making sound tactical decisions. Wonder what would have happened to this judge if the same protocols were in place?
The stench of this proto-typical snark screamed dumbass street cop, full of his awesome authority and reeking of disdain for anyone, judge included, who would question it. Nobody knows but a cop. And under the ‘nym of Kahuna, he was free to smack at will. Cowards always feel that way.
When he was called out, Kahuna went through the usual infantile excuses as if nobody could figure his rationalization out, but got a bit more serious, ableit with a curious informality, like a teenager trying to prove his maturity to a grown-up. The crux of his lengthy comment is that he would comply with the judge’s order, but the judge was still wrong. Cops know best. Better than court officers. Better than judges. When it comes to having a gun, cops win.
Again the judge is the judge and can do as he wishes, but to shroud this issue in the sense of it being a control issue or machismo issued for the officers not being allowed to carry their duty weapons is misleading. What next? No armed officers can enter a school, a hospital, a church? Where does it end? Just sad when the people making the decisions or comments don’t have a day of real world experience in the job.
You start to make a point about Judge Kopf, but then instantly loose me with your terminology “being concerned about an armed officer popping a cap into a defendant”. “Popping a cap” really? Your tone is hostile and gives me the impression you’re painting an officer as a “thug” with a gun. To me this gives a bit of a glimpse into your bias which I find surprising coming from a former law enforcement officer.
Greg I don’t know you, but based on your pedigree (as provided by Judge Kopf) I have to say I’m a bit shocked at your demeanor here. I know posting text sometimes looses a lot in translation and tone, but overall the impression you give me is you have a great disdain for law enforcement officers who in your view (at least this is the vibe you’re giving out) need to be slapped down a few notches and put in their place. You seem to be painting with a pretty broad brush and making a lot of generalized assumptions that police officers are upset because they’re being told they can’t do something and “too bad!” since the judge can tell them whatever he wants.
To Kahuna, Greg broke the rules, that a cop, even a former one, doesn’t challenge another cop. Greg must have a malevolent motive (or be a former mid-level supervisor, which reveals another subtext message) to do so.
Throughout, Kahuna is smart enough to claim that while the judges are clueless, and cops have magical powers that no one else possesses, he would do as the judge ordered, no matter how wrong the judge was. But that’s to Judge Kopf’s face, and to say otherwise would be say “fuck you” to a cop ally in the courtroom. He’s smart enough not to screw with someone who does the cops’ bidding.
On Glocktalk, some cops didn’t find this to be a big deal at all. For others, however, there’s no such need to maintain the ruse.
Our county juvenile court is like that. Must lockup our duty guns. Needless to say, we’re all concealing backups.
Judge Kopf is adept at connecting dots, so I’m confident that he read the subtext message from Kahuna. But for any judge who might miss the point, police officers don’t love you as much as you love them. They may feign respect, but you’re just some clueless “power tripping” moron in a robe. And they will call you “yer honor” to your face, and something far less respectful behind your back.
Most importantly, they will appear to accede to your order to play their game in your courtroom, but check their ankle for the gun they didn’t give up. Just as they’ve been lying to us all along, they’re lying to you as well. You’re not special.