The four-minute, profanity-laced video showed the defendant, Jacob Larson, accusing Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John McBain of being “buddy-buddy” with a woman Larson had been accused of stalking for about a year, Mlive reported.
The hearing was about Larson’s alleged violation of a personal protection order against the woman, who in the video is seated at a table next to Larson but whose face is blurred.
The video shows that the hearing began calmly but escalated quickly as McBain questioned Larson about his persistent Facebook messages to the woman, despite a personal protection order against him.
“It’s like ‘Fatal Attraction’ kind of stuff that I warned you about last time,” McBain said, referring to the 1987 film in which Glenn Close plays an obsessive stalker. “I told you to just leave her alone. She was a classmate of yours. She apparently has no interest in — ”
“I want her to tell me to leave me alone,” Larson said, motioning toward the woman as he interrupted the judge.
That seemed to irritate McBain, whose voice became noticeably sharper as he responded: “You know what? I told you to leave her alone. And apparently that didn’t get through loud and clear. So today, you’re going to jail for three days.”
What followed was an escalating exchange in which Larson accused the judge of being “buddy-buddy” with the woman and McBain declaring that the defendant has “a bad attitude.”
As Larson continued interrupting the judge, McBain upped his jail sentence.
“Forty-five days … 93 days in the county jail,” McBain told Larson. “You want to go for a year? Try it right now.”
A court officer seen in the video told Mlive.com that as he tried to take Larson into custody, the defendant “tensed up” and tried to fight him. Larson and the officer, identified by Mlive.com as Jared Schultz, struggled as Larson continued to point and talk to the woman.
“Tell me to leave you alone!” he said. “Tell him right now!”
“Tase his a– right now!” McBain shouted, as he threw off his judge’s robe, ran over to the two men and then physically helped pin Larson to the ground. Throughout the scuffle, Larson is heard cursing periodically.
(Warning: The video contains profanity.)
This was not the first time McBain’s comments as a judge have made the news. In 2014, he told a convicted murderer that he hoped she died in prison, Mlive.com reported.
“Sometimes, I think a judge needs a little fire in the right kind of cases,” McBain told the news site at the time.
McBain did not respond to an email sent to his office Friday. A woman who answered the phone for the Jackson County courts system said the judge was not taking calls regarding the video.
“There is one thing I don’t tolerate is disruptions in my courtroom,” McBain told Mlive.com, adding that Larson was “totally disturbing the decorum of the court.”
McBain told the news site that it was the first time he has had to physically restrain someone in his courtroom.
Jackson County Chief Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson told the Associated Press that McBain’s actions were allowable.
“A judge has the power to take whatever action is necessary to maintain order in the courtroom,” Wilson told the AP.
According to Mlive.com, Larson was accused of stalking the woman for about a year but blamed his behavior on her:
“Obsessed” for reasons she did not know, he was a high school classmate of the woman, and sent her 22 Facebook messages after McBain signed the order in August 2015 and before the December hearing. “He’s not leaving me alone,” the woman, now 22, told the judge.McBain noted that he “pretty clearly and unequivocally” warned Larson to avoid contact with the woman.“She’s instigating it,” Larson replied and talked about pictures she posted wearing a lot of makeup and with her “hair done and all that stuff, the full nine.”
Since the courtroom incident, Larson again violated the protection order in July, after he sent the woman 20 friend requests on Instagram, according to a detailed case report obtained by The Washington Post.
The woman went to Larson’s Instagram and discovered a video he had made with her name as the title, the report said. In the video, Larson reportedly referred to the protection order and said “if he can’t have her, no one can,” implying that the two had a dating relationship. The woman told police the two of them had never had a dating relationship and that their only connection was that they had gone to the same school, according to the report.
Larson has since been charged with aggravated stalking and is scheduled to appear in court again Dec. 2, according to Jackson County court records.
Mlive.com reported that McBain has recused himself from Larson’s cases pertaining to the protection order after witnessing his behavior in the courtroom.
Formerly a prosecuting attorney, McBain was elected to the Jackson County Circuit Court bench in 2002, according to his bio on a county webpage. In 2007, he was appointed chief judge pro-tempore in the Jackson County Circuit Court.