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Judge Removed For Demeaning Litigants

(CN) - The Virginia Supreme Court removed James M. Shull of the 13th Judicial District from the bench for asking an abuse victim to pull down her pants in the courtroom to show her wounds and for resolving a custody dispute by flipping a coin.

Shull admitted to the charges, but claimed that the woman had volunteered to lower her pants, and that he had flipped the coin to encourage the couple to settle the dispute on their own and to demonstrate that his award of custody"would be as random as a coin toss."

Justice Keenan called Shull's conduct "grave and substantial," adding that it could have a "profoundly negative impact, not only on the parties' ability to accept the 'rule of law' imposed in their particular case, but also on the public's confidence in and respect for the judiciary." See ruling in Virginia v. Shull.

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