Judge Says Kicking White Lawyers Out of Court to Lecture Black Defendants a 'Mistake'

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington says he intended nothing racist when he ordered white lawyers from his courtroom while he lectured black defendants.

Arrington, who is black, ordered the lawyers from the courtoom on March 27th. He says he walked into the courtroom and saw a crowd who appeared to be "99.9 percent" black. He says he decided to talk privately with the suspects.

"I didn't want to appear to be condescending, talking them down," Arrington told Atlanta radio station WSB. The judge, who has been on the bench for six years, noted that he grew up on inner-city streets in Atlanta. Arrington says he urged people in the courtroom to take a hard look at their lives.

He says his message was "Get your life together, get in school, you can be a better you if you work hard." Arrington says his message was essentially the same that comedian Bill Cosby has made.

In retrospect, Arrington says segregating the courtroom for those few minutes was a mistake and that when he lectures those in his courtroom this Thursday, he will invite everyone to listen.