Retired Judge Frank Labuda was slammed by a panel of judges this Thursday over comments he made to a Black defendant in 2018, where the judge said he pitied him because his brain was "probably retarded in growth" and repeatedly ordered his mouth bound with masking tape, the New York Daily News reports.
"I feel sorry for you. Because I know that if we were to look in your mind we would find that your brain, your frontal lobes, your decision-making processes are probably retarded in growth," Labuda said at Angelo Johnson's 2018 sentencing for burglary in Sullivan County, adding that the sentence "is in a way to make you safe from hurting yourself or others, because I appreciate the fact that your brain is not developed, through no fault of your own."
As a result of Labuda's remarks, the appellate panel ruled that 10 years would be shaved off Johnson's sentence.
The panel said that Lubada's remarks reflect archaic thinking that claims Black people are mentally inferior.
"It is shocking that any court, in 2018, would refer to this black defendant's brain, frontal lobes and retardation of growth in concluding that defendant's brain was not developed," the judges wrote.
"To invoke such reasoning today is utterly racist and has no place in our system of justice."
Labuda sentenced Johnson to 15 years without parole and ordered Johnson to be labeled a "persistent offender," which clears the way for a more severe sentence.