I read with great interest the article by Melissa Boughton concerning a death penalty sentence being overturned by United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel.
From my reading of the excellently written article, the not too subtle prejudicial racial testimony and remarks fully justified Judge Gergel’s action in ordering a new trial, a new trial comporting with due process. However, the reference to Judge Gergel as a “white Jewish Democrat” is clearly inappropriate. When Judge Gergel donned the robes as a United States district judge, his former political affiliation became an irrelevant subject for comment.
In my many years of experience, I have no recollection of a district judge’s former political affiliation or inclination being bandied about in the press in connection with a particular ruling. In that regard, it must be kept in mind Judge Gergel was approved by two Republican senators.
Also, why is Judge Gergel’s religion relevant, particularly when there were no religious issues involved in the case? I seriously doubt that, if Judge Gergel had another religious affiliation, his religion would have been mentioned.
I believe fair-minded people would agree.
Ellis I. Kahn
Kahn Law Firm, LLP