As tough as they seem to come across, courtroom judges can also have a heart, and their emotions can flow like rivers in certain cases, and here are some stories where judges cried.
1. Just 5 months after the birth of her daughter and the death of her 21-year-old son, Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died of what was later determined an accidental drug overdose. Her mom found out about her daughter’s death from TV.
Her mom and Anna’s ex-boyfriend and Anna’s ex-husband battled in a Florida courtroom over where her body would be laid to rest. Mom wanted her buried in Texas. The ex-husband, Howard K. Stern, wanted her buried in the Bahamas alongside her son.
After a week of bizarre testimony and episodes of finger-pointing, the judge decided in Stern’s favor, to have Anna buried next to her son in the Bahamas. But it was not a simple ruling, as the judge, Larry Sidelyn, became very emotional in rendering it.
He said, with tears, “I want her buried with her son… in the Bahamas. I want them to be together.”
The judge later explained he became emotional because he’s not a robot, that he feels for things everyday… and that he has compassion and love.
2. James Roeder was found guilty of burglary in Louisville, Kentucky, and while he was locked up, his wife gave birth to a baby boy. It had been a month and James had not even met his young son.
So, as he was being prepared to transfer to another prison, he stood before Judge Amber Wolf, and she allowed James’ wife to bring up their young son for James to hold.
It was a beautiful moment, and everyone in the courtroom teared up… even the judge, who had to pass around tissues to many there.
3. In Narsapur, India, the courtroom was packed as discussions of polluted drinking water in two neighboring towns took center stage. The judge presiding over it, P. Kalyana Rao, was extremely upset and disturbed that this was even an issue, as he had recently toured the towns to get a first-hand look at the water situation.
He was furious there had been no steps taken to fix the problem by the administration, and several times, he broke down and cried. The judge ordered a swift correction to the problem.
4. A 30-year-old father with two little daughters was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was hit by a car making an illegal u-turn.
At Marcus Kenrick’s sentencing in Cornwall, England, for causing Gareth Nicolas’ death, the judge spoke to the deceased man’s mother and father, expressing his deepest sympathy, his voice cracking as he tried to hold back his emotions.
Said Judge Phillip Wassall: “I too would have liked to have met your son… because I’m the father of two little girls. He clearly had a tremendous love of life and was a completely natural and down-to-earth person.”
The judge then sentenced the 46-year-old Kenrick to four years in prison.
5. Dr. Sombat Jitmoud’s son was attacked and killed in Lexington, Kentucky while he was making a pizza delivery.
Police arrested three in connection with the murder, but only one man, Trey Relford, stood trial for his role in it. He was found guilty of stabbing the man to death, and as he prepared to be sentenced by the judge, family members of the deceased were allowed to speak.
Dr. Jitmoud told Trey: “I feel so sad for you that you have to be in this situation because of the crime that you committed.”
He then pleaded with Trey to tell the judge who, of the three of them, actually killed his son. The unnamed judge became very emotional at this and had to call a recess.
When court resumed, Trey, with tears in his eyes, told the Jitmouds that he was very sorry for his involvement in the crime. Dr. Jitmoud then walked over and hugged Trey, as the two of them wept together.
Trey was sentenced to 31 years in prison for the death of the doctor’s son.
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