Last Wednesday, Judge Margaret Taylor was presiding over the case of USF football player LaDarrius Jackson, who was arrested that Monday night on charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment. The USF graduate went on an uninformed, accusatory, demeaning rant against USF’s African-American coach Charlie Strong during a preliminary hearing for Jackson.
She basically played herself by questioning Strong’s integrity, values as a man, his professionalism as a seasoned head coach, and in light of the arrests, his control over his team and players.
According to collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com, “The judge also implored Strong, long admired by those inside college football and even out for his strict adherence to his ‘Five Core Values,’ to, "think long and hard about whether being head coach at USF is a good fit for you before any other members of this community have to suffer at the hands of one of your players.”
By Wednesday night Taylor’s comments had gone viral and realizing the error of her racially-motivated and totally unprofessional ways, she "submitted an order of disqualification Thursday morning, which removes her as the judge in Jackson's case," according to Hillsborough County Circuit Court records.
In disqualifying herself from the case, Taylor cited a state judicial rule about a defendant fearing he would not get a fair hearing because of prejudice or bias from the judge.
In retrospect, maybe she was purposely trying to get herself removed from the case. Or maybe it was a reality show reach gone wrong. I hope this isn't the attitude or culture of dispensing justice that Judge Taylor has been exuding in her many years on the bench. That would be a scary thought.
Bay Area lawyer Barry Cohen says he is incensed by the judge's "accusatory" speech. He penned a letter to the Tampa Bay Times, saying he's "embarrassed for the legal profession."
Disqualifying herself was Taylor's only move, after what can only be described as straight-trippin’. She condemned every person of color associated with the situation, before a trial had transpired and with no knowledge of the character of the people that she was prematurely indicting.