Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Judge Admonished for Sexist Treatment of Women in his Courtroom, Including Asking Female DA to Get Coffee

ABA J, Judge's Coffee Request, Inappropriately Aimed Paper Bring Admonishment

A California judge has been admonished for his treatment of women in his courtroom, including an incident in which he asked a female prosecutor to get him a cup of coffee.


Judge Joseph Bergeron of San Mateo County was admonished (PDF) on Jan. 25, according to a press release. The coffee incident was one of three incidents cited by the California Commission on Judicial Performance. The Recorder (sub. req.) has a story.


The coffee incident occurred in December 2014, according to the commission. As a female deputy district attorney was leaving the courtroom, Bergeron asked if her office was across the hall and whether coffee was available. He conveyed that he would like the prosecutor to bring him coffee, though “the facts about how he inquired, including the point at which he handed her his empty coffee mug, are in dispute,” the commission said.


The prosecutor responded “in a sarcastic manner intended to convey the impropriety of his request what kind of coffee he would like and whether he would like cream and sugar,” the commission said. Bergeron responded he would make it easy and would take his coffee black. As she was leaving, Bergeron said that if he had cash, he would give the prosecutor a tip.


When the prosecutor returned with the coffee, she said, “Is there anything else I can do for you, Your Honor? Can I iron your shirts?”

Judge Joseph Bergeron Accused of Treating Women Inappropriately

The first incident happened on Aug. 28, 2014, when a clerk not regularly assigned to Bergeron’s courtroom was working.


As he was presiding over two criminal matters, the clerk went to retrieve a file from the judge. Bergeron asked her if she plays baseball, and then hit her in the chest with a crumpled calendar. He did the same thing later in the day.

Judicial Profile, Judge Joesph Bergeron.  Noted "Expectations" for his courtroom. "Please be on time and always be polite."

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