Late library return brings down judge
When Colorado teenager Aaron Henson checked out the “House of the Flying Daggers” DVD in 2009, he had no idea what it would lead to a year later. During a move, the 19 year-old packed the $30 DVD and forgot to return it to the library until January, 2010.
In the meantime, local Judge James Kimmel was notifed by a letter from the library that the movie had been returned. Regardless, he issued a warrant for Aaron’s arrest. On January 25, 2010, Aaron was stopped for speeding and the warrant appeared in the computer. He was arrested on the warrant and his car was impounded. After almost 8 hours in custody, he was released.
Aaron had a hearing scheduled about the overdue DVD. However, since he had moved, he didn’t receive notice of the hearing date. Due Process requires proper notice before a court may issue an arrest warrant. Apparently, Judge Kimmel issued dozens of warrants under similar circumstances.
On April 6, 2010, the Littleton City Council voted unanimously to remove Judge Kimmel from the bench. Although a judge since 1982, length of service does not trump incompetence or disregard of the law.
Does the action by the City Council surprise you? Do you think the judge’s long service to the community should be taken into consideration? What can Aaron do to recover his expenses in getting his car out of impoundment? Anything?