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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Ind. Courts - ND Ind. federal judge reportedly nods off during trials

So writes NWI Times columnist Mark Kiesling today in an article headed "Order in the court -- I'll have a black coffee." Some quotes:

Someone get federal judge Rudy Lozano a cup of hot black coffee, stat!

It seems the judge "appeared to nod off" during the ongoing racketeering and conspiracy trial of a number of the Latin Kinds street gang. * * *

So says a report from this newspaper, and while I don't believe everything I read in the paper (especially if I wrote it) I think there's some fire behind this smoke.

"He (Lozano) was nudged awake by a court employee after an assistant U.S. attorney objected to a question by Adam Tavitas, the lawyer for alleged Latin King Martin 'Lefty' Anaya of Chicago," the article said.

Lozano didn't return my call. I'm inclined to give credence to the news account of the trial, though, in large part because I have been there and done that.

The last couple of trials I sat in on in Lozano's court, Lozano appeared to get sleepy in the afternoon (and who of us doesn't once we hit a certain age?) and had to be given a nudge to bring him back into focus.

One of the problems here is the fact that Lozano is 70 years old this year. By that age, most people in the private sector have been given their gold watch and escorted to the door, and are glad to be gone. * * *

Because Lozano is an Article III judge (nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the U.S. Constitution) he cannot be removed except through impeachment.

Lozano was nominated for judge in 1987 and confirmed in 1988. In July 2007, he went on "senior status," which allows him to work anywhere from full-time to one-quarter and anywhere in the nation.

Back to Lozano and the apparent need for a coffee break.

I sat in on hearings on former Gary City Clerk Katie Hall on mail fraud, extortion and racketeering in 2002. She pleaded guilty in January 2003 and was spared prison time because of ill health.

Likewise, the fraud and tax evasion trial of East Chicago political operative Bob Cantrell, who was convicted in March 2009. He remains in prison but will face release soon.

During both actions, Lozano appeared to nod off before my very eyes. As with the Latin Kings trial, he was nudged awake.

Now there is word that Chief Judge Philip Simon of the Northern District of Indiana is soliciting anecdotal evidence of Rudy's diurnal habits.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 7, 2012 11:02 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts