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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

After fatal call, judge should resign

She should call a news conference before the week is out, apologize for the pivotal role she played in a killing last week and tender her letter to the administrative judge of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.

Her apology should acknowledge that she was uniquely positioned to save the life of a 17-year-old Cleveland boy, who was shot five times Friday evening. She should acknowledge that instead, she gambled with the public's safety by releasing an increasingly dangerous teen hours before he killed.

Floyd should acknowledge that for inexcusable reasons, she rolled the dice on a violent juvenile, who had been aggressively working his way up to murder. She should acknowledge that she was the last person who could have prevented Demel Holiday's life from ending the way it did.

If Floyd truly cares about this community -- if she has any honor -- she will take ownership of a senseless death and demonstrate leadership by removing herself from the bench.

That would be a public service.

Most judges are not prescient. They're not expected to be. Like newspaper columnists and chimney sweeps, they are prone to missteps. They come equipped with no supernatural powers.

But judges are called judges for good reason. They are expected to listen intently, deliberate intensely and adjudicate wisely.

Floyd fails miserably on all counts. She's an inartful listener, which renders her ineffective and dangerous.

Furthermore, at some point she decided that her poor listening skills were virtues and that her own counsel superseded that of those positioned to help her.

That is the airtight case against her. That is why she should go.

Before releasing the 17-year-old delinquent charged with killing Holiday, a juvenile probation officer pleaded with Floyd to lock the boy up. She described the 17-year-old as a physical threat to the community. [Mark Godsey]

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