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The Trump admin promoted a judge who threatened to sic a dog on a 2-year-old in court

The Trump admin promoted a judge who threatened to sic a dog on a 2-year-old in court

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The Trump administration has an uncanny knack for sniffing out the absolute worst people in this country and shoving them into positions of immense power. Now, a new report from Mother Jones has kicked over a rock and revealed another Trumpian monster squirming around in our government.

At an immigration hearing in 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina Judge V. Stuart Couch lost his temper on a 2-year-old Guatemalan boy for not being quiet enough during the proceedings.  The judge pointed to the boy and threatened to unleash an attack dog on him if he didn’t quiet down.

“I have a very big dog in my office, and if you don’t be quiet, he will come out and bite you!” Couch snapped at the child. As an interpreter for the court translated the judge’s words into Spanish, the judge leaned into the threats. “Want me to go get the dog? If you don’t stop talking, I will bring the dog out. Do you want him to bite you?” he boomed. He then ordered the boy removed from the room, at which point the boy began to cry.

Mother Jones spoke to Kathryn Coiner-Collier, an independent observer who was present for the ghastly interaction. She said her “mouth was on the floor” and that she believed it was possible that the judge did indeed have access to attack dogs since she had seen DHS dogs in the building before. Worst still, Coiner-Collier says that Couch disabled the recording device in the courtroom before launching into his threats of violence. Writes Noah Lanard for Mother Jones:

“After turning [the recording device] back on, [Judge Couch] made a statement in which [Coiner-Collier] believes he intentionally inflated the boy’s age to obscure the fact that he had threatened someone who was a few months shy of his third birthday, according to his passport. ‘I will have the record reflect that [the boy] is a 5-year-old respondent that has been very disruptive during this hearing,’ Couch said, according to her recollection in the affidavit. ‘The court had tried to control the child behavior’s and has been unsuccessful…The court is using a strong voice and strong language with him in the absence of parental control.'”

The judge later told Coiner-Collier that threatening children with “scary animals” usually works but conceded it didn’t work in this particular instance. Coiner-Collier wrote down what she observed and delivered it to the Executive Director of the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy Kenneth Schorr, who in turn registered an official complaint with the DOJ. Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Deepali Nadkarni, who outranks Judge Couch, subsequently investigated the incident and relayed to Schorr that Couch insists he will not repeat his behavior.

“I was outraged. I’ve been practicing law for over 40 years and I have never experienced judicial conduct this bad,” Schorr told Mother Jones. When the publication spoke to the child’s mother, she declined to give comment out of fear of the judge.

One need not be a judicial expert to realize that threatening to have a child mauled by dogs should be the kind of behavior that gets a judge removed from his or her post. Instead, the Trump administration gave Couch a promotion this past August, assigning him to the DOJ’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which is a body with tremendous power over who does and does not get deported. Our government is rotting from the top-down and the longer that Trump remains in power the more we’ll see odious men like Couch ascend.

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