Judge who cried considers recusing self
KELOWNA — A judge who cried during a victim-impact statement is incapable of delivering a fair sentence, a defence lawyer says.
Judge Monica McParland is also accused of scoffing at the defence’s suggestion for an intermittent jail sentence and displaying an “overall tone of bias” against a person who pleaded guilty to the sexual interference of a minor.
“It is not appropriate for a judge to get so emotional during a victim-impact statement, period,” defence lawyer Jacqueline Halliburn said. “Judges don’t cry in every sexual-interference case.”
But Crown prosecutor Angela Ross said the judge’s actions fell well below the standard of misconduct required for an application of judicial recusal to be granted. “Even gross discourtesy does not amount to judicial error,” Ross said.
As well, Ross said, judges are expected to demonstrate “compassion and humanity” in the fulfilment of their duties.
McParland herself will decide if she should quit the case and refer sentencing to another judge. She indicated that decision will come before the end of August.
Jeremy Melvin Carlson was charged in 2016 with sexual assault and the sexual interference of a person under age 16. Carlson, who is now in the process of transitioning to become a woman, subsequently pleaded guilty to sexual interference of a minor.
The Crown wants a jail sentence up to 20 months, followed by two years of probation. The defence suggested a 90-day intermittent jail term, to be served over 20 weekends. Halliburn described the judge’s response to the proposal as a “short, sharp scoff,” but the Crown says no such response is audible on court recordings where it’s alleged to have occurred.
Ross said none of the behaviours ascribed to McParland meet the high standard of proof required for a judicial recusal.