The incident began when Bandelman, angered by a ruling in a child custody case involving his granddaughter, rushed into a public restroom in the Lockhart courthouse to call Robison a fool.
Robison responded by directing bailiffs to arrest Bandelman and ordered him jailed for 30 days. Bandelman, then 69, was released two days later, after the 3rd Court of Appeals asked Robison to explain his contempt ruling.
Under contempt standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1925, automatic jail sentences are reserved for actions that disrupt court proceedings or challenge the judge’s authority in court. Those accused of contempt for actions outside of court must be notified of the charge and allowed to defend themselves at a hearing.
In its reprimand, issued Jan. 26, the judicial conduct commission noted that the confrontation took place “after court proceedings had adjourned” and added that Robison’s contempt finding violated two sections of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct , the ethics guide for judges.
A reasonable man might also conclude that the judge’s actions – indeed, the whole concept of contempt of court – violates the U.S. Constitution, but since that is now wholly interpreted by judges, I suppose it doesn’t.