Louisville judge questioned for dismissing juries based on lack of minorities


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens revoked Adam Satterly's bond on drug charges Monday, Satterly shouted out a parting message as deputies took him into custody.

"Punk a-- ni--er," Satterly could be heard saying from a hallway just outside the courtroom, according to a video of the hearing.

That ended up costing him an additional 60 days in jail as Stevens found Satterly in contempt of court and rebuked him for using the racial slur.

Clearly upset with what Satterly said, Stevens ordered sheriff's deputies to bring Satterly back into the courtroom a few minutes after the incident occurred.

"Is there something that you wish to say to me?" Stevens asked Satterly.

Satterly's attorney, who was present during the bond hearing, had already left the courtroom. Satterly told Stevens he was talking to his brother, not the judge.

"No, no, no, I didn't mean it like that," Satterly said, according to the video.

"Oh, you didn't mean it like that?" the judge responded tersely, telling Satterly he was holding him in contempt of court. "You don't speak those words in here. And that word particularly, you don't use that word. I'm going to give you 60 days for having used that word. I'm going to hold you in contempt right now for having used it in this courtroom. It's disrespectful; don't ever do it again."

It is at least the third time in the last year the issue of race has come up in Stevens' courtroom. Stevens, who is black, had stopped hearing cases for a few weeks in the wake of a scolding by Kentucky's chief justice and an ongoing investigation by the Judicial Conduct Commission over his comments alleging top prosecutor Tom Wine wants "all-white" juries.

And last February, Stevens came under fire for criticizing the victims of an armed robbery for "fostering" the views of their 5-year-old daughter. The parents said in court records that the daughter was still scared of black men after two had held the family at gunpoint.

"I'm offended by that. I'm deeply offended by that. That they would be victimized by an individual, and then express some kind of fear of all black men," Stevens said at the time. "I wonder if the perpetrator had been white, would they be in fear of white men? The answer would probably be 'no'."

Last month Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton denied a request to disqualify Stevens from criminal cases because of posts he made on social media about Commonwealth's Attorney Wine and his staff about the racial makeup of juries. But while Minton harshly criticized Stevens, he referred the request to the Judicial Conduct Commission for possible disciplinary action.

It is unknown when the commission will rule on whether Stevens has violated the code of judicial conduct.

Monday was Stevens' first day back on the bench since the Minton ruling.

"This is how the new year starts," Stevens said regretfully after hearing Satterly's racial slur.

While he initially moved forward into the civil park of his docket, Stevens stopped and asked deputies to bring Satterly back in front of him.

"Indulge me one second," Stevens said to a staffer before asking a deputy to go get Satterly.

By that time, Satterly's attorney, Chris Thurman, had already left the courtroom.

Thurman did not return a message asking for a comment.

Correction: This story originally stated Satterly could be heard saying "F--- that ni--er," however witnesses in the courtroom at the time tell WDRB he actually said "punk a-- ni--er."

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