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Racial Epithets in Court

September 02, 1987

No matter how you slice it, Calabro's "intemperate outburst" was inexcusable. There are at least three ways to slice it:

- An inexcusable racial slur, indicating prejudice to either the defendant or the victim. Neither prejudice to the prosecution nor to the defense is acceptable from a judge.

- An expression of impatience with a particular type of case (here, racist violence), indicating the judge's reluctance to treat the case as carefully and even-handedly as all parties are entitled to.

- Just a thoughtless, insensitive remark intending no harm, indicating the judge doesn't even know he is prejudiced.

Anyway you slice it, Calabro doesn't belong on the bench. Especially in this most ethnically diverse metropolis.

M.M. WALP

Beverly Hills

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