Some people learn the hard way that there is a place for everything. Just as laughing at a funeral can be offensive to the family of the bereaved, laughing in court when you are on the side of the guilty party can be infuriating.
One such incident happened in Michigan in 2017 when drunk driver, Amanda Kosal, was on trial. Before she eventually faced the consequences of her drunk driving, one of her family members bore the brunt of the judge's wrath.
25-year-old Amanda Kosal's reckless driving had claimed the life of 31-year-old Jerome Zirker and severely injured his 31-year-old fiancee, Brittany Johnson. The judge who presided over the case was Judge Qiana Lillard.
The victim's family read statements explaining the impact the victim's death had on them at the hearing. Zirker's family was in the middle of sharing the heartache that tragic death was causing them and the havoc it was wreaking because Zirker was a father to five children when the judge heard someone giggling.
Judge Lillard paused to fish out the culprits.
She identified two of Kosal's family members as the source of the laughter. One of them was Kosal's mom, Donna.
The judge was so furious that she blasted them and called them clowns. She said: "Whoever can sit here at a tragic moment like this and laugh and smile when somebody has lost a family member … in the entire time that Mr. Zirker's sister was speaking, that clown — and that's what I am going to call him, a clown — was sitting there smiling and laughing…."
Judge Lillard sentenced Donna to jail for not knowing "how to act." She also gave every other person in the courtroom a stern warning. If anyone dared to "laugh and smirk," they would be joining Donna.
Since her judgment met with some murmurings, judge Lillard explained her stance. She clarified the severity of the case and that they are expected to show respect in the court of law.
Although Kosal was their family member, and even though she was someone they loved, she was heading to prison to face the consequences of her action.
Lillard said: "I understand you all are very upset because your loved one is going to prison — but guess what? She's going to prison for the choices that she made. These people are here grieving, saddened because a senseless act took away their loved one, and you're sitting here acting like it's a joke?"
"Not in Courtroom 502. Not today and not any other day."
She sentenced Donna to 93 days in prison at the Wayne County jail. This was the judge's sentence: "Your disruptive and disrespectful behavior disrupted today's proceedings, and you, ma'am, are going to the Wayne County Jail for 93 days."
According to WDIV, Amanda Kosal was also found guilty of being drunk during the tragic accident and was sentenced to three to fifteen years in jail.
When the video clip went viral, Lillard took to her Facebook to share a note of gratitude to those who loved how she handled Donna in court.
This is just one of many unforgiving judicial moments. Did you ever hear of Judge Murphy's fists?
In 2014, a hearing took place in Florida where an assistant public defender got on the nerves of Judge John C. Murphy for refusing to waive his client's right to a speedy trial.
Murphy listened to Weinstock's list of excuses and was so pissed that he openly challenged Weinstock to a fight. He told him to "just go out back" where he was going to "beat his a**."
Weinstock accepted the judge's challenge because videos showed both heading towards a hallway away from the screens while the audience heard "grappling, shouting, and taunting."
Only Murphy returned. There were reports that Judge Murphy was counseled for anger management after that. Here is a clip:
There is also Judge Rodriguez-Chamat, also called the Bird. In 2013, in Miami, he was overseeing the case of 18-year-old Penelope Soto. She was facing charges of possessing Xanax.
During the proceedings, Soto was dismissive and giggling. The judge set her bail at $5000.
But, when leaving, she infuriated the judge by uttering the word "adios." The judge doubled her bail to $10,000.
Soto was so unbothered that she told the judge, "f**k you." Little did Soto know where that was going to get her.
Judge Jorge called her back and sentenced her to 30 days in jail. According to NBC Miami, Soto later apologized to the judge amidst many tears. The judge was kind enough to listen to her pleas and reduced her sentence to only a $10k bail.
Whenever you are in court, remember that it will do you more good to maintain proper court etiquette and never disrespect the judge. The judge is an authority in court and deserves some respect. Also, mocking the victim's family will never end well, especially if you meet a judge like Qiana Lillard.