Judge gets out of order in own courtroom

March 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A Washington state judge says he regrets getting into a shouting match with a man he was sentencing this week.

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Here's how the scene played out.

Judge John Wulle: "Mr. Hastings, did you graduate from high school, sir?"
Matthew Hastings: "No."
Wulle: "Let me give you a little thumbnail sketch of the American system of government. Mr. Hastings, don't press your luck with me, son. Don't press your luck with me."
Hastings: "Or what? You gonna sentence me? Is that what you're gonna do?"
Wulle: "You know what Mr. Hastings? I am."
Hastings: "OK."
Wulle: "Let me tell you why."
Hastings: "I don't really care why. Just get on with the sentencing."
Wulle: "You shut your d*** mouth, sir!"
Hastings: "No, I'm not going to shut my mouth."
Wulle: "Next time, I'm gonna have you gagged."
Hastings: "You're not gonna have me gagged, pal."
Wulle: "You're right I am."
Hastings: "OK. Have me gagged, then."

That man, Matthew Hastings, was being sentenced to 120 years for shooting at police.

"I grew up in a world, where, if someone has a badge or if someone is the authority of law, or a judge, or can put me in jail is probably the easiest way to describe it, we were taught that it was 'Yes, sir... no, sir... yes, ma'am... no ma'am,'" said Judge John Wulle.

Judge John Wulle says he's sorry if he offended any observers, but Hastings just pushed his buttons.

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