Wisconsin Judge Suspended After Using Gun As Prop During Proceedings

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A Wisconsin county judge has been suspended after utilizing his handgun as a prop during court proceedings and using questionable language while addressing defendants,

According to FOX 11, Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Scott C. Woldt was suspended in a court hearing on Tuesday (July 13).

The complaint filed against Woldt included six separate incidents beginning in 2009, including:

  • Use of crude language during a family court hearing
  • Displaying a handgun during a visit by high school students
  • Use of crude language when speaking to a victim, and display of a firearm
  • Use of acerbic language directed at a defendant
  • Use of crude language during a criminal hearing
  • Encouraging a victim not to summon law enforcement when needed

The court ruling said that the incident with the handgun displayed during a visit by high school students occurred during a "Government Day" event. A student asked Woldt about courthouse security and he explained that he carries a gun in the courtroom for his own safety and briefly showed the gun.

Three justices issued the majority ruling in Woldt's disciplinary proceedings. The court ruling documents state:

"Having considered all of the facts of this proceeding, including all of the appropriate aggravating and mitigating factors, we conclude that a short suspension is necessary in this situation to assure the members of the public that judges will treat them with dignity, fairness, and respect when they enter the courtrooms of this state, and to impress upon Judge Woldt the seriousness of his misconduct and the need for him to change how he treats the jurors, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, victims, and staff with whom he interacts."

It was determined that Woldt committed judicial misconduct and would be suspended for seven days without pay starting August 2.

Woldt has been a judge since 2004 and has been re-elected for three terms of service.

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