U.S. District Judge David Hittner has been on the federal bench almost 25 years, and he's definitely earned a reputation for wanting things done his way.
College student Kelsey Gloston didn't know that, though, so she was arrested and handcuffed in her college classroom for blowing off jury duty.
Gloston had been chosen to a 60-member panel that would eventually be whittled down to a jury, but she had finals coming up, jury duty sounded lame, she's 19 and invulnerable, etc. etc. She gave a male excuse when authorities contacted her about her absence, and then hung up on a clerk.
Hittner sent out the U.S. Marshals to her community college class, where they handcuffed her hands and ankles and led her away.
She was ordered to appear in court today, where she abjectly apologized to Hittner, who then magnanimously let her go without penalty, and with a copy of the Constitution, telling her to be sure to read Article III.
"I do apologize for being very disrespectful toward the system," Gloston said. Her father, who earlier had told reporters he would sue over his daughter's treatment, said he just wanted to put things behind them.
Heavy-handed judicial treatment? Maybe. But then again, here are some (admittedly anonymous) ratings of Hittner on the website The Robing Room:
-- "He thinks he's God's gift to the judiciary. He is an example of how not to be a judge. He is biased, and the judicial process suffers because of it. He is a fat, unattractive, grumpy bully. He overcompensates for his obvious shortcomings by lashing out at the litigants without reason."
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-- "Simply put, the picture next to 'God Complex' is his, and he works to keep it there. To call him a bully is a huge understatement"
-- "As a prosecutor, I usually am the beneficiary of his rulings. Still, I do not like to see the judicial process indulge judges of his caliber. He has a poor demeanor; in fact, he's a bully. He is also very biased towards the government, which makes the prosecutor's job easier but is not good for those who want judicial fairness and even-handedness"
Etc., etc. We have to say, in our very occasional dealings with Hittner, he's been pleasant enough to deal with. Of course, as another commenter said:
-- "This judge is totally inappropriate in any case involving the media. He likes to see his name in the paper more than any other judge I know. Too bullying and temperamentally erratic"