APRIL 03, 2008
A black Atlanta Superior Court judge ordered all white people to leave his courtroom so that he could privately lecture the predominantly black defendants—charged with felonies—scheduled to appear before him.
Fulton County Judge Marvin Arrington said he was fed up that the defendants in his courtroom were “99.9 percent Afro-Americans” so he arranged to have a “blacks-only” audience before delivering a pep talk to the defendants, accused of serious crimes including murder, rape and robbery.
The judge said he thought the message would be more powerful if the audience was all black so he kicked out all whites, including defense attorneys and prosecutors, before delivering it. The message was to stop violating the law, go to school and find a role model to help advance in life.
Judge Arrington, who practiced law for three decades and served as Atlanta city council president before being appointed to the bench in 2002, said he didn’t think about racism or reverse racism when he excluded whites from his courtroom. He did it because he didn’t want the black defendants to think he was talking down to them or trying to embarrass or insult them.
Not long ago, Judge Arrington posted a set of rules and a dress code in his courtroom because he was fed up with defendants dressing and acting inappropriately in court.
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