We’re working on a second piece about Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton landing himself in hot water with a different judge, but I wanted to revisit the piece from Saturday in which we reported that he was admonished for his childish behavior in Judge Reynolds’s courtroom during the hearing about the status of the Green Party on the Montana ballot.
I got my hands on the transcript from that day and it’s safe to say that Mr. Stapleton made a complete fool of himself in court. Local attorneys have told me since my original post that Stapleton’s behavior would have egregious to upset Reynolds enough admonish him from the bench, and the court record demonstrates his frustration:
THE COURT: All right, folks. I need to talk about a little courtroom decorum. This goes to you, Mr. Secretary. I do not like at all parties cross talking. This isn’t the place to do that. Your conversations, your comments, should be directed to me and no party should be making cross talk to the other side. That is really rude in my perspective.
The way that I make my decisions is to listen to one person as intently as I can and listen to the other side. As you notice, I don’t do it just one, two, three. I give people plenty of time to talk. I don’t want cross talk.
And, Mr. Secretary, that goes for you as well. You made a couple of comments here this afternoon that I think are inappropriate, and I am asking you to not continue that behavior.
I noticed in reading the transcript that there were some comments recorded from you as well in the transcript in front of Judge Seeley. I do not want you to continue to do that. It’s disruptive, it’s rude, and it is inappropriate in this courtroom setting. Do you understand that?
MR. STAPLETON: Yes, sir.
I would guess that Judge Reynolds does not regularly need to remind people appearing in his courtroom not to act like disruptive middle school students and I would hope that an elected official in Montana would have enough respect for the law to treat a courtroom with the gravity it deserves, but everything about the way Mr. Stapleton has conducted himself in office make those expectations anything but reasonable.