Minnesota’s own hanging judge

Judge Bueltel:

I just read an AP story that reported you sentenced Lisa Hanson to a $1,000 fine and ninety days in jail because she dared to defy Governor Walz’s executive orders to close her business in “the interest of public safety.”

The Associated Press quoted you saying you “wanted to send a message to people who violate executive orders.”

I find it instructive that you didn’t say you wanted to make sure justice was done. No, you wanted to “send a message!” I am reminded that your behavior mirrors that of George Jeffreys of Star Chamber infamy. You may recall that Jeffreys was basically a mouthpiece for the British crown who used the court to suppress opposition to royal dictates. I also recall the behavior of another distinguished jurist, Andrey Vyshinsky of Moscow show trial fame. Certainly, he, too, sent “messages” to Stalin’s opponents. Or perhaps, a bit closer to home, the honorable Roy Bean of Pecos fame also comes to mind. But in Mr. Bean’s defense he dispensed “justice” from his bar during wild and ruckus frontier days while you sit in splendor in the Steele County Courthouse, robe and all, pretending that your courtroom is there to dispense “justice.” Your “justice” may be different in degree from that of Mssrs. Jeffreys, Vyshinsky and Bean, but it is no different in kind.  In other words, your “justice” is but a form of Star Chamber vengeance.

I note that eighteen years ago you won the “Don’t Tread on Me” Award. Don’t you find that ironic? Didn’t the revolutionary spirit captured in that phrase precisely mirror Ms. Hanson’s rejection of the governor’s order?

If people in the third judicial district want justice, they better hope they don’t find themselves in your courtroom


Michael Coughlin

As an aside, I got to thinking that the learned jurist might offer in his defense that he is not at all like Jeffreys or Vyshinsky; After all, he showed mercy on Lisa Hanson by not ordering her executed for treason. He might have a point there.

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