By Wyatt Earp | October 7, 2010
Allegheny County Judge Joseph Williams (left) found himself in some hot water this week after rejecting a negotiated plea deal. The deal was for an assault on police case, where the suspect fought with the po-po during a car stop.
Williams rejected the plea of probation because it is a plea that is only offered to “white boys.”
Yeah, apparently Judge Williams does not have an internal edit button.
A black judge from western Pennsylvania rejected a plea agreement for a man accused of fighting with police during a traffic stop, saying it was “a ridiculous plea that only goes to white boys.”
In court, Williams told Assistant District Attorney Brian Catanzarite that he “for some reason comes up with I think ridiculous pleas whenever it’s a young white guy,” according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If this had been a black kid who did the same thing, we wouldn’t be talking about three months’ probation.”
My opinion may shock you, but the judge is absolutely right.
Williams later recused himself from the case, and a white judge accepted the plea agreement for 24-year-old Jeffery McGowan.
The defendant, who had no criminal record, agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct. He had faced charges including aggravated assault. On Tuesday, Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, told the Tribune-Review the plea deal was appropriate and agreed to by the officer, who was not injured.
Okay, since I have some experience in this department, let me say this about that. Every ADA in America is concerned about one thing: clearances. Plea deals facilitate that. Like I said previously, the judge is right. Deals like these would usually be offered to white defendants before black ones, but a district attorney worth his salt would ask the officer before offering the plea – especially in an assault on police case.
The district attorney in this case is not a racist; he’s just trying to raise his clearance rate. I don’t think Judge Williams is a racist, either, but he definitely needs to think before he opens his pie hole.