A Michigan judge is apologizing for the way she spoke to a 72-year-old cancer patient who appeared in her courtroom for an overgrown lawn. Hamtramck District Judge Alexis G. Krot made apologies for shaming Burhan Chowdhury despite him telling her that he was feeling "very weak" due to his treatments. According to NBC affiliate WDIV, Judge Krot allegedly told him "If I could give you jail time on this, I would."
"I made a mistake," Krot said in a statement posted on the court's website. "I acted intemperately. I'm very embarrassed that I did so. I apologize to the person who appeared before me and to our entire community for having failed to meet the high standards that we expect of our judicial officers, and that I expect of myself."
Following the outburst, a Change.org petition was started to call for the judge's removal. It's since garnered 235,000 signatures. She continued in her statement to say that she is reporting herself to the Judicial Tenure committee.
"When someone appears before me and has made a mistake, I expect them to own up to it. I expect nothing less of myself. No ifs, ands or buts: that is the reason I self-reported my behavior to the Judicial Tenure Commission," Krot continued. "I had no legal duty to report myself to the Commission, but I did so because, like apologizing to the community, it was the right thing to do. I will continue to hold myself to the standards I set for others."
The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission doesn't have the power to comment on cases of this nature, though it does have the power to censure, suspend, or remove a judge after an investigation. "It takes seriously all complaints that a Michigan judge has violated the ethical rules that govern judges," executive director and general counsel Lynn Helland told the Washington Post. "The action the Commission takes depends on the judge's history and all of the circumstances disclosed by the investigation."
Chowdhury was diagnosed with cancer shortly after he moved to the United States from Bangladesh in 2019, his son Shibbir Chowdhury said. "She was telling my father, a sick person, that he should go to jail. That's ridiculous," he said. "You can't give a 72-year-old person jail time for not cleaning an alley."