Gloves & Robes Come Off As Judge John McBain Subdues Unruly Defendant
October 20, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John McBain has “no regrets” about getting physical with an unruly defendant last December, after a surveillance video of the incident went viral on Wednesday.
“Tase his ass right now!” McBain hollered as he tore off his robe, jumped off the bench and helped subdue the recalcitrant stalking defendant.
“Sometimes, I think a judge needs a little fire in the right kind of cases,” Judge McBain told ABC news.
The scuffle occurred during a hearing in December, 2015 on a personal protection order (PPO) violation. The defendant, Jacob Larson, was charged with stalking a high school classmate, and he refused to agree to stop harassing the young woman because he needed to “hear it from her.”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s like ‘Fatal Attraction’ kind of stuff that I warned you about last time,” McBain said. “I told you to just leave her alone. She was a classmate of yours, she apparently has no interest in seeing you.”
“You know what? I told you to leave her alone and apparently that didn’t get through loud and clear, so today you’re going to jail for three days,” McBain said.
Larson continued talking back to the judge, who responded each time by extending the sentence, first to 45 days, then to 93 days and then to 365 days in the county jail.
Larson interrupted McBain again, accusing him of being “buddy-buddy” with the aggrieved woman and pushing the judge to his breaking point. When McBain ordered the officer to cuff him, Larson refused to put his hands behind his back. This was the final straw that prompted Judge McBain to take matters into his own hands.
“I would hope any other judge would say, if my court officer is in trouble, I am going to go down there and do what I can,” John McBain said in an interview yesterday.
According to Jackson County Chief Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson, Judge McBain didn’t do anything wrong by taking matters into his own hands. “A judge has the power to take whatever action is necessary to maintain order in the courtroom.”
It’s interesting to note that the court officer refrained from tasing the defendant, claiming that he did not fear for the safety of himself or others. The situation could have easily gone the other way. Maryland Judge Robert Nalley was banned from the bench for life in April after he ordered the tasing of a pro se defendant for wasting the court’s time by refusing to stop arguing with the judge during a courtroom hearing.