There’s a reason why TV shows and movies so often depict judges as power-hungry, egomaniacal and yes, a little bit crazy — because in real life, so many of them are. (And the phrase “sober as a judge” is meant to be ironic.)
TUPELO, Miss. – When a Mississippi judge entered a courtroom and asked everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, an attorney with a reputation for fighting free speech battles stayed silent as everyone else recited the patriotic oath. The lawyer was jailed.
Attorney Danny Lampley spent about five hours behind bars Wednesday before Judge Talmadge Littlejohn set him free so that the lawyer could work on another case. Lampley told The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal he respected the judge but wasn’t going to back down.
“I don’t have to say it because I’m an American,” Lampley told the newspaper.
The Supreme Court ruled nearly 70 years ago that schoolchildren couldn’t be forced to say the pledge, a decision widely interpreted to mean no one could be required to recite the pledge.
On Thursday, the judge again asked those in the courtroom to pledge allegiance to the flag, which stands to the right of the bench.
“I didn’t expect the Pledge of Allegiance, but he asked me to do it so I did it,” said Melissa Adams, 41, who testified in a child custody case that was closed to the public.
Lampley, 49, previously refused to say the pledge in front of Littlejohn in June. He was asked to leave the courtroom, but returned after the pledge.
The attorney told the newspaper Wednesday it was a problem for the judge and himself to work out, yet blogs across the country lit up with fiery comments and support for both sides.