Friday, May 20, 2005

A New Excuse

When David Strom of the Our House blog shared his sleep apnea experiences with his readers several months ago, he never suspected that his condition could be used as a valid medical excuse for bad behavior. But a beleaguered judge in Pennsylvania is testing those murky legal waters to try to get himself off the hook for some difficulty that he has been having at work recently:

A Cambria County district judge will soon learn whether sleep deprivation is an acceptable excuse for acting like a foul-mouthed jerk.

Allan Berkhimer, the three-term district judge who last month was chastised for using vulgar and sexually explicit language toward underlings, told the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline yesterday that he suffers from sleep apnea. The sleeping disorder, while it went untreated two years ago, was one of several stressors that led to his crude behavior, he said.

He is now being treated for the disorder, he told the court.

I can see where the sleep apnea can make someone irritable and cause them to use some salty language that might be out of character for them. But the judge does more than just get grumpy and cuss:
Yesterday's hearing arose out of last month's ruling from the disciplinary court, which said Berkhimer's behavior was "so persistent, so pervasive, so inescapable, so diminishing of his office, and so extreme that we conclude that disrepute was brought upon [the] office itself." To the women that worked for him, he often used the F-word, told stories involving sex, and sometimes showed explicit photos, received over the Internet.
Whoa Nellie! That sort of activity takes some degree of thought and consideration. David Strom has never done that...or has he? Ohhhhh yeah, he sure has. David had better hope that the sleep apnea excuse works in court before he finds himself in a hot spot of trouble. We might get some more nice Vegas pics, too...

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