A judge in the United States has been officially reprimanded for sentencing a man to death while dressed in a skeleton costume for Halloween.
‘I don’t know what all the fuss was about’ said Judge Carl Everett from Tallahassee, Florida. ‘It was only a bit of fun to break up the monotony of what’s been a very long trial. My mask wasn’t very scary really, and I did take it off every now and then when it got a bit sweaty inside.’
Judges in the United States do not wear the formal robes and wigs that are traditional in Britain, but some legal commentators feel that the dress may have been slightly too casual on this occasion. At Judge Everett’s suggestion, all the officials of the courtroom came to the final day of the trial dressed in scary costumes for Halloween.
‘It was completely inappropriate’ said Defense Attorney Greg Anderton, who did not want to risk offending the judge by being a spoil-sport and so reluctantly came as Frankenstein. ‘He knew that the verdict and sentencing would probably come on 31/10, but still made us all dress up as witches, vampires and Egyptian Mummies. The clerk of the court came as a zombie and call me a party pooper, but I just don’t think that is appropriate when someone is being given the death penalty.’
The case in question was that of a 37-year-old Hispanic man who was charged with the premeditated murder of his wife and her lover. The fatal injuries that had been described to the jury inspired one of them to come with blood soaked bandages around his head as part of his Kurt Cobain costume. But another juror was reprimanded by the judge for not making enough effort with her costume. ‘Just wearing a pair of round spectacles doesn’t make you Harry Potter,’ he said during his summing up.
Inspired by events in the courtroom, the warders on Florida’s Death Row also dressed up, with the result that two prisoners were executed by officers in Halloween fancy dress. ‘Perhaps we should have warned them beforehand, but seeing the Grim Reaper next to the electric chair is one way of learning that your last minute appeal to the Governor has been turned down.’