WATCH, a courtroom monitoring project in Hennepin County has issued a news release today calling for the resignation of Judge Steven Aldrich.
The group claims a comment he made during a Family Court hearing prompts the release, which says:
During the hearing to amend an order for protection brought by a woman against her husband, Judge Aldrich stated, “I’ve been married 45 years. We’ve never considered divorce, a few times murder maybe.”
“Many women seek a protection order because they’re fearful of being murdered or seriously injured by their partner,” she WATCH executive director Marna Anderson in the release. “The last thing an abused woman needs to hear in this situation is a joke about domestic homicide.”
The comments comes in the wake of a couple of high-profile killings of women who sought or had orders of protection.
What’s your view?
Update 4:32 p.m. Judge Aldrich has posted the following :
The following is the only public statement I can make, as will be seen from its text: I am sorry for the offense occasioned by my comment. It has been taken somewhat out of context. I tried to use humor to lower the tension in the courtroom and in retrospect I chose the wrong words. The couple in this case has asked that I remain the judge in their cases. In deference to their privacy and the canons of Judicial Conduct about pending cases, I will not comment further. Throughout my 15 years on the bench, and for 25 years before, I have acted forcefully to protect victims of abuse and their children, and to issue or seek Orders For Protection justified by the facts and law. /s/ Stephen C. Aldrich Judge of District Court
Update Fri 11/13 6:45 a.m. – Lawyers in the case released this statement via comments:
The comments made by Judge Stephen C. Aldrich, as reported by WATCH on November 12, 2009, are not taken by the parties or their attorneys as offensive. As stated by Judge Aldrich, they were a means to lower tension and for humor. The report by WATCH is out of context and is a non-issue. In fact, the Petitioner seeking the Order for Protection reported that it made her laugh, cut the tension, and was the highlight of the hearing. WATCH is taking the comment completely out of context and far too seriously. The parties have agreed to continue their case in front of Judge Aldrich. Robert J. Hajek, Attorney for Respondent Scott M. Rodman, Attorney for Petitioner”