Color of judge’s pen is not grounds for reversal

United States v. St. Junius, No. 11-20805 (5th Cir. November 8, 2013).

This case should be read really for the humor more than anything else as it does not have anything to do local governments.  While the topic is rather serious (Medicaid/Medicare fraud) the appeal is not. Defendant argued that the jury could “look to the Judge to see what color pen he was using” to determine how they should interpret the evidence being offered.  The Judge’s comments to the jury indicated that he would use red ink to write down things he found humorous and black ink to make other notes.   The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals viewed the comments as “fairly innocuous” and concluded his “brief commentary about his pens, during the course of a lengthy trial, does not amount to plain error.”

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