Judge: "Young Black Males Get a Break If They Deserve It"

Portrait of a male high school student

Judge: "Young Black Males Get a Break If They Deserve It"

Judge Michael Risinger, of Peoria, Illinois, has been transferred from a misdemeanor court after making controversial statements about giving Black males "a break."

Published March 7, 2013

A judge in Peoria County, Illinois, was transferred from a misdemeanor court after controversial statements he made about giving Black men "a break," according to PJStar.com

Judge Michael Risinger, who was appointed to the court in the beginning of the year, drafted a 29-point agenda to reform some of the procedures in his courtroom.

In the part of the document where he laid out his sentencing policy he wrote, "If left up to me, (the defendant) is going to jail right then. Young Black males get a break if they deserve it. You can tell by their dress and attitude. Get my attention.”

PJStar.com reports

Risinger, a former public defender, said those comments were not racist and didn’t merely apply to Blacks but to all people whom a defense attorney thinks should get a break.

In a news release, Chief Judge Michael Brandt seemed to indicate that was beyond the bounds.

“Standing alone, without context or explanation, the note was inappropriate and this was pointed out to him by me,” he said. “Even though a review of the entire circumstances does not lead me to the conclusion that Judge Risinger committed any judicial misconduct, it was recognized that the attorneys who received the judge’s initial communication may be placed in a dilemma vis-à-vis their clients including the scope of client consultation in connection with the decision to exercise an automatic, one-time, right to a substitution of judge.”

Read full story here.

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Written by Natelege Whaley


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