crimes and misdemeanors

The Case of the Judge and Penis Turtle

Former Saratoga County judge Gilbert Abramson lost his primary election six weeks ago, and today was barred from ever again serving on the bench by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. What’s everyone so down on Abramson for? Well, for one thing, he “repeatedly sent people to jail from his court while denying them fundamental rights, such as the right to representation and the right to a hearing.” So that’s pretty awful. But that’s not his only transgression.

In 2008, Abramson told a female defendant that the cartoon turtle on her T-shirt was “very phallic” and resembled “a penis with a smile on it.” He continued with this totally court-appropriate line of thought, “That’s a turtle on Viagra. It’s erect, it’s smiling. And you never see a sad Mrs. Turtle, because they’re fully satisfied.” Because everyone in the court was riveted by Abramson’s analysis of this alleged penis turtle, he went on. “You can’t look at your shirt without feeling aroused.” At some point, presumably, Abramson tired of talking about the penis turtle, and allowed the hearing to continue.

But a few months later, the woman returned to the courtroom wearing the same turtle shirt, and Abramson could not help but point out once more the similarities between the turtle and a human penis. “Another great shirt,” apparently not recognizing that it was the exact same shirt as before. “All of (her) shirts are phallic. Look at the turtle. It’s a pornographic turtle.”

Okay, so this guy is probably not at the top of anyone’s list of best judges. Here’s the real question we have, though. Which is more disturbing: That a judge was obsessed with the perceived resemblance of a cartoon turtle to an erect penis, or that a woman twice said to herself, “What should I wear to court today? Definitely my T-shirt with a cartoon turtle on it.”

Gilbert Abramson, upstate New York judge, banned from bench for making weird sex jokes [NYDN]
Saratoga Family Court judge removed from the bench [Times Union]

The Case of the Judge and Penis Turtle