Do Not Laugh When a Judge Sentences You

Saturday, October 31, 2015
Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill (photo: U.S. District Court)

Ramon Ochoa probably isn’t laughing now.


Ochoa, who had previously served about six years for firearms possession by a felon, got into trouble with his probation officer, which resulted in Ochoa being back inside a Fresno courtroom.


Standing before U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill, Ochoa received a one-year sentence for violating his probation after he mouthed off at the staff of the halfway house.


Ochoa’s mouth got him into more hot water when he laughed at O’Neill’s sentence, saying, “Anything else?”


“Well, you just talked yourself into more time,” O’Neill replied. The judge doubled Ochoa’s sentence to two years for laughing at the court.


Ochoa’s lawyer appealed the sentence, claiming O’Neill exceeded his authority in changing the punishment. But the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco disagreed in a 2-1 ruling, which said a sentence is not final until there is a “formal break in the proceedings,” meaning when the hearing ends.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Ninth Circuit Upholds Laughing Felon Sentence (by Rose Bouboushian, Courthouse News Service)

Judge’s Doubling of Laughing Defendant’s Prison Time Upheld (by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle)

Texas Judge Accused of Misconduct for Ordering Defendant to Copy Bible Verses and Marry his Girlfriend (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Most Unpopular Judges in the United States (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


ChrisG 8 years ago
I hope the prison guards laugh at him the entire time he is locked up.
Tom Lowe 8 years ago
All US judges are at least implicitly complicit in the ongoing MERS fraud, including Judge O'Neill. Given that the entire US judiciary has aided and abetted the MERS fraud, it stands to reason that Ochoa would point out what a joke US courts are and what a corrupt joke O'Neill is. I have a feeling that Ochoa will have the last laugh here once the Great Reset occurs and all of the corrupt judiciary are sent to FEMA camps for eleven years including this corrupt turkey O'Neill--all openly corrupted now due to the MERS fraud alone.

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