A drug court defendant in Washington state is entitled to a new sentencing hearing because the judge showed “personal animosity,” a state appeals court has ruled.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Joe Wilson used expletives as he tried to coax the defendant to comply with drug treatment after an arrest for shoplifting at Walmart, according to the appeals court opinion cited by HeraldNet.
After Wilson removed the defendant from the program, the judge called him an addict, a liar and a thief. At sentencing, Wilson called the defendant “just a criminal.”
The public defender who appealed, Robert O’Neal, told the HeraldNet that Wilson should not be judged by the single case, and that the tone in drug court is different than in a regular courtroom. Nonviolent defendants in drug court can avoid a felony conviction and jail if they get treatment and stay sober.