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Monday, June 11, 2007

A 'swinging' ex-judge or hoodlum's revenge?

I was disappointed last week to see that former Judge Harvey Ginsburg, 53, was accused of threatening a teenager with a bat. (For those of you who missed it, Ginsburg allegedly asked, with bat in hand: "You want to fight my son?" and swore at the boy and called him a "chicken." The complaint also charges that the ex-judge took a swing at the boy, who maintains that, despite ducking, he was struck on the arm.)

Ginsburg's attorney, Fred Bruno, has vigorously denied that the incident took place the way it is portrayed in the complaint. Bruno told the Star Tribune that the alleged victim is a "predatory hoodlum" who is making the charge in retaliation for being reported to the authorities by Ginsburg for his own criminal acts. (Hmmm. Too bad Minnesota does not have a "predatory hoodlum" registry so we could know for sure if that's what he really is. Oh well, maybe next legislative session.)

For those keeping score, Ginsburg past anger-related offenses have included threatening a 14-year-old whom he thought had stolen his son's bicycle and keying a woman's car after an altercation in a parking lot. (In 2004, Ginsburg was removed from the bench.)

Now, I have no idea of what the relative merits are of this current charge. It does raise some as of yet unanswered questions in my mind, such as: Why was Ginsburg trekking around St. Louis Park with a bat like Judge Dredd? The answer may be harmless enough (e.g. maybe he was coming from a softball game), but so far I have not heard it. Another question is whether or not Ginsburg has been continuing with those anger-management classes he was supposed to have started when the earlier incidents occurred. If this latest charge proves true, those lessons don't seem to be sticking. (I would be happy to forward a complementary DVD of the Jack Nicholson movie "Anger Management" if that would be any help.)

In any event, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Hopefully, Ginsburg will keep a low profile in the meantime. I would suggest that he give up baseball for the time being and take up Scrabble.

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