A black attorney was handed a five-day jail sentence by an Ohio municipal court judge when she refused his demand to remove a lapel pin supporting Black Lives Matter in his courtroom, reports reveal.
The incident occurred in the Youngstown courtroom of Judge Robert Milich when he objected to attorney Andrea Burton’s obvious bias in favor of Black Lives Matter. But when the judge instructed her to remove the pin, she refused, prompting the judge to issue a five-day jail sentence for contempt of court.
The judge reminded the attorney that members of the court are not allowed to wear items that make political statements in court.
The attorney has been released while the sentence is being appealed and will not be returned to jail as long as she leaves her BLM pin at home during the appeals process.
The judge hastened to note that his own political ideas had no part in his decision to sanction the lawyer.
“A judge doesn’t support either side,” Milich said according to WKBN news. “A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law.”
Naturally, the local office of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking to see if the judge can be sued for his actions.
“We will do all that the NAACP Youngstown can do to ensure that Attorney Burton’s constitutional rights are not being violated,” Youngstown NAACP President George Freeman, Jr., said in a statement
Others also questioned the judge’s actions.
“No one wearing an American flag button, no one wearing a crucifix or a Star of David would be removed, so why this particular statement bothered him so much is bothersome,” attorney and community activist Kim Akins said.
For his part, the judge insisted he is following court rules and said that there is a difference between flag pins or religious symbols and pins that push a political cause like BLM.
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