Lake Legal Views Article, March 2021
The Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers strongly condemns the rhetoric and language used by Lake County Judge John O'Donnell in the Lake Legal Views. It is well known today that openly utilizing non-scientific and/or demeaning phrases to describe the COVID-19 virus detrimentally impacts the Asian community. Phrases like the ones used in the article have contributed to the deliberate targeting of Asian Americans as we now routinely learn of prejudicial acts including physical attacks on our fellow citizens.
Use of terms such as these are made worse when they are conveyed by a sitting judge. Courts are to be the example of honor and integrity wherein all who come before them should confidently expect they will be treated fairly. Such overt and reckless language sends the exact opposite message. Considering Judge O'Donnell's clear and public feelings, it is next to impossible to think an Asian American, any person of color, or other minority could walk in his courtroom believing she or he would be afforded such fair treatment.
For these reasons, the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers finds the use of such language to be denounceable as it threatens to undermine the general confidence in the most sacred principle of fairness, which the judicial system by and through the fundamental concepts of due process and equality demand.
Meredith O'Brien, President