Tag Archives: Judge Tammy Kemp

insensate ideologues


without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

Romans 1:31


Jean hugs Guyger

judge hugs Guyger.jpg


This post concerns the following recent news stories about the conclusion of the trial of Amber Guyger:

“Amber Guyger was hugged by her victim’s brother and a judge, igniting a debate about forgiveness and race”

By Hannah Knowles

The Washington Post

October 3, 2019



Amber Guyger’s Judge Gave Her a Bible and a Hug. Did That Cross a Line?

After a high-profile murder trial, Judge Tammy Kemp ignited a debate about the limits of compassion.

By Sarah Mervosh and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

The New York Times

October 4, 2019


On September 6, 2018, off-duty Dallas Police Department patrol officer Amber Guyger entered the Dallas, Texas, apartment of Botham Jean and fatally shot him. Mr. Jean, a 26-year-old black man, was an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Guyger, who is white, was initially only charged with manslaughter. She was later charged with murder.

On October 1, 2019, Guyger was found guilty of murder. On October 2, she was sentenced to ten years in prison.



Absurd — the premise of the news stories; the “issues” they raise. Notwithstanding what the woman did. (I would call it a crime of negligence or stupidity, not premeditated murder. I would not take the position that she should not have been punished. I do not on the face of it feel that her sentence was unfair.)

She regrets it, expressed genuine remorse.

A hug was given (in the courtroom) by the BROTHER of the victim.

What we have here – in the case of critics of the victim’s brother’s and the judge’s demonstrations of compassion (note that the judge did sentence her to 10 years!) — are coldhearted ideologues.

Robespierre would have approved.

This is not a matter of policy or ideology.  It’s a matter of common HUMANITY.

People are not abstractions. They are not things. It’s not a case of, say, some evaluator grading or weighing something inanimate or deciding in which box or category that thing or abstraction belongs. Life is not a game or contest in which an arbitrator or referee decides who deserves to win or lose.

Compassion is never amiss.

Some stonyhearted persons cannot see or practice this. They have, in their makeup, zero sensitivity.

There are plenty of them. Plenty such people in the here and now.



Someone with a head on their shoulders and a heart:

“Some judges seem to be able to turn off their emotions and not see the humanity, but I was never able to do that,” said Jan Breland, a retired judge who heard misdemeanor criminal cases in Austin for 26 years. “These people that come through our courts are human beings, regardless of the things they’ve done. They all have mamas, and they were all little boys and little girls at one time.”

— The New York Times


A stonehearted nitpicker with only a faint trace of “humannity” (on life support insofar as concerns blood flow to critical “emotive faculty” organs):

Amanda Frost, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, said the judge’s decision to hug Ms. Guyger was not too far removed from judges who tell defendants that they regret being forced by the law to hand down a certain sentence or who encourage them to reconsider their paths.

“Impartiality is what matters,” Professor Frost said. “If the judge shows it throughout the trial and then shows some compassion to the defendant afterward, I don’t have a problem with that.”

The Bible, on the other hand, was “questionable,” Professor Frost said. [It wasn’t, by any measure.]

— The New York Times


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2019