One Judge Tackles Defendants, the Other Demands to See Them Naked

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on October 20, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It was the best of courts, it the worst of courts, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolish-- Actually, scratch that. It was pretty much the worst of times all around in today's tale of two courtrooms.

In our first case of "judges run amok," a Michigan judge is gaining some viral fame after video emerged of him charging from the bench to help tackle a defendant -- while screaming "Tase his ass right now." Meanwhile, just a few states away, his colleague was facing indictment. Former Arkansas Judge Joseph Boeckmann, it seems, was also interested in some defendants' bums, but not in tasing them. Boeckmann is currently facing charges that he blackmailed young men into posing naked for him in exchange for lighter sentences.

And Off Come the Robes

Judge John McBain, our scrappy Michigan jurist, was recently caught on tape taking down an unruly defendant in his courtroom. During a hearing over stalking allegations, the judge became agitated over the "trashy" actions and "bad attitude" of the defendant. When the defendant resisted being cuffed, Judge McBain leaves the bench, rips off his robe, and dives into the ensuing scuffle.

The video is amusing -- Above the Law describes McBain as "a perfect specimen of middle-aged Dad-ness" -- but this isn't the first time McBain has acted out in court. As the ABA Journal notes, McBain once sent a criminal defense lawyer to jail for refusing to sit down when instructed and told a convicted murderer that he hoped she would die in prison.

The Bad Touch

If Judge McBain came down too hard (literally) on defendants, Judge Boeckmann stands accused of handing out too light of punishments, though only as part of a disturbing quid pro quo.

Boeckmann quit the bench last May after an investigation found thousands of photos of nude young men on his computer, including several defendants who appeared before him. Boeckmann is accused of offering lighter sentences for defendants who agreed to pose nude for him, trading some nude pics and spanking sessions in exchange for community service hours.

Boeckmann's alleged pervy practice wasn't entirely a secret either. Apparently, allegations against him dated back decades, but it wasn't until he was investigated about an unrelated conflict of interest that court employees began asking investigators "Did you hear about the boys?" They did, and now Boeckmann finds himself on the other side of the criminal justice system.

On Monday, Boeckmann was indicted on federal 21-counts stemming from offering to dismiss a case for two defendants, if they would agree to be photographed naked or being paddled. The most serious charges carry up to 20 years in prison, Reuters reports.

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