The Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards has reprimanded a Dakota County judge for making numerous inappropriate comments during the same trial.
The board's public reprimand said 1st District Judge Richard Spicer made comments -- about 30 times -- that he thought were funny. The board ruled the comments crossed a line. The reprimand cites several examples from the 2011 trial.
During jury selection, a juror said he managed a pizza restaurant, and Spicer asked "Do they still taste like cardboard?"
When another jury member said he had worked in an airline stockroom, Spicer responded, "Is that where they steal all our bags...?"
When told the consecutive ages of a juror's four children, the judge said "Well,... you weren't shooting blanks. We know that much."
During the same trial, Spicer also said he had to leave for a golf tournament.
The jury found the defendant guilty of misdemeanors of violating a harassment restraining order and disorderly conduct. The defendant appealed, citing the Spicer's "extensive joking." The Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant's conviction, stating that he did not object to Spicer's comments during the trial. But the judicial standards board said Spicer did not take the defendant's right to a fair trial seriously. The board wrote that his comments were insensitive and demeaning.
Spicer did not immediately respond to calls from MPR News for comment.
Spicer was also reprimanded by the board in 2009 for using disparaging speech in court.