Judge threatens girls with Hell
stuartbuck at MSN.COM
Thu Nov 2 21:36:35 PST 2000
Keeping in line with the surreal stories we've seen lately, here are some
excerpts from an interesting (and to me hilarious) article from the Chicago
Judge threatens girls with `hell'
November 2, 2000
BY CHRIS FUSCO SUBURBAN REPORTER
"If you lie, you will go to hell," a Cook County judge warned two girls in
his court before they testified about their dead poodle.
Judge James T. Ryan once kept a woman in court until she soiled herself, and
fined another woman for speeding to a hospital to give birth. The former
mayor of Arlington Heights says he has since learned to control his temper.
Now, he's in trouble with Diane Tuzzolino, a Mount Prospect mother who says
he scared her children, Karyn, 12, and Kara, 8.
"My older daughter went to testify," Tuzzolino said. "He told her, `You
realize if you lie, you will go to hell. You realize what I'm saying, you
will go to hell.' "
The judge, she says, then made a similar statement to Kara.
Ryan isn't disputing that he mentioned the afterlife in his Rolling Meadows
courtroom. But he says he treated Tuzzolino's children with respect,
speaking kindly to see if they were fit to testify in a heartbreaking case.
"I might have said, `It was conceivable you could go to hell,' though I
don't remember exactly. Sometimes people misperceive what I'm trying to do."
The family was in court Friday to dispute a $312.70 bill from a Schaumburg
animal hospital, which cared for Tabitha, the family's 19-year-old black
* * *
A signed receipt for the veterinarian's work, Ryan said, made Tuzzolino
responsible for the bill, despite her argument that the dog already had died
when she brought it to the animal hospital last April. The girls testified
that the dog's head had drooped in the car on the way to the vet, Ryan said.
"I didn't want the children to testify, but she was insistent," he said. "I
questioned the children, asking them if they knew the difference between
right and wrong ... and what would happen to them if they did not tell the
When she heard the judge, "I was basically speechless," said Tuzzolino, 38.
"Never in my life have I heard a judge say that, even to an adult."
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