January 10, 2015
Black Lives Matter: Judge John Hurley Says A 'Black Man Running From Police Brutality' Is Not A Defense

In a recent case, Judge John Hurley shot down the argument of a public defender who claimed the recent cases related to Michael Brown and Eric Garner presented a valid reason for a black suspect to run from police officers. In response, some are claiming that Judge Hurley should be removed from the court for bringing the politics of the Black Lives Matter protest movement into the courtroom.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Black Lives Matter protest movement has black college students with failing grades claiming they should be given a free pass.

Fort Lauderdale police officers say 26-year-old Stephen Clarke is a burglary suspect who was riding in a suspicious vehicle that was being trailed by an officer in the middle of the night. Shots were fired at the police car from the suspicious vehicle, and a bullet grazed the head of a police sergeant. Although the probable cause affidavit does not place Clarke in the vehicle, Clarke was found hiding under a boat while wearing a weapons holster that did not have a gun. Two weapons were found in the abandoned vehicle and a co-defendant claims Clarke was working with them to burglarize cars in the area.

In response to these charges, public defender Dale Miller claimed "Mr. Clarke was never connected with the car" and that "he was running from the scene because shots were being fired." Miller also went one step further by referencing the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

"Your honor, in light of what's happening in this country with unarmed black men being killed by police, him running from shots being fired is a very reasonable response," Miller argued.

This argument upset Judge Hurley, who cut off the public defender.

"We've got a young man, I don't care what color he is, he's in a neighborhood he doesn't live in at 1:41 in the morning, hiding under somebody's dock in the water with a holster on after a police officer had a shot taken at him," Hurley argued. "Don't hand me this, 'he's a black man running from police brutality.' That is not appropriate in this case. I'm not going to let you poison this case with bringing in something that has nothing to do with it."

Later on, after Judge Hurley set the bond for Clarke, it's reported that the judge apologized for getting upset.

"I usually maintain a calm, you know," he said. "But forgive me, once in a while – not too often – I get worked up."

Since Judge John Hurley gave a stern lecture about the Ferguson-related defense argument, Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein is demanding the judge be removed from his court for bringing politics into the courtroom.

"It was a political reaction to a legal argument," said Finkelstein. "Judges are not supposed to do politics."

Finkelstein claims Hurley was politicizing the bench in order to play to "Midwestern housewives." The public defender also claims the judge set the bond unfairly high, since Clarke received a $200,000 bond while the three other co-defendants received a $10,000 bond each. The bond for Clarke has since been reduced, and Judge Hurley voiced surprise the case was still an issue after his apology.

When a Local 10 News reporter noted that "a lot of people are going to agree with everything Judge Hurley said," Finkelstein argued that Judge John Hurley should not have responded as he did.

"I don't fault them for agreeing with what Judge Hurley said," said Finkelstein. "But when you're a judge, this is not a reality TV show.... You're supposed to be bigger and better than that. You are the face of American justice."