Legal professionals are weighing in on the behavior of a Dallas, Texas judge immediately after a former cop was convicted of shooting her unarmed neighbor in his personal apartment.
Guyger, who is white, was identified guilty of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean, an unarmed Black man who was relaxing in his personal apartment when Guyger barged in.
Legal professionals say Judge Tammy Kemp, who is Black, demonstrated poor judgment and inappropriate behavior when she left the bench to embrace Guyger and hand her a Bible immediately after the guilty verdict was announced on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
According to The Washington Post, legal professionals says a judge hugging a defendant and providing her a Bible was “not only uncommon but inappropriate.”
Kenneth Williams, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told The Post: “[Kemp] has indicated an affinity or sympathy for the defendant.”
Other legal professionals noted that the hug and the Bible could lead to a conflict if Guyger files an appeal, which her attorneys have stated she will.
President and Director-Counsel of LDF (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational) Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted that a judge really should stay impartial and unbiased in a court of law.
“A judge is not an typical citizen. She is not the victim… She should, specifically in a case that arouses passion and conflict like this one particular, stand for impartial justice. She may well speak words from the bench. This is as well significantly.”
Other folks noted that Judge Kemp permitted Guyger’s defense to use the Castle Doctrine defense, which is ordinarily reserved for property owners who stand their ground. The Castle Doctrine justifies deadly force when an intruder enters an occupied house.
Kemp also instructed the jurors to contemplate a “sudden passion” defense whilst figuring out Guyger’s punishment. The sudden passion defense decreased the sentencing variety from two to 20 years.