Retired Detroit bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes claims the media had “an odd fascination in my participation in the rock and roll band that I play in.”
Odd fascination? I don’t think so. Senior-citizen judge who strums guitar on the side = decent feature story. Just play along, sir.
He also said he wished his courtroom had been open to cameras during the Detroit bankruptcy proceedings, and that “in a public case like this the judge in charge should have the discretion to open it up to the media.”
Rhodes added: “I wish that someone in the media had made a formal issue out of this by filing a First Amendment motion. It’s likely that I would have granted that motion but it never happened.”
The Detroit journalist who passed this story along writes in an email: “Nobody bothered asking, because federal court is the last place in America where 20th Century technology is still barred from being used to document what the hell goes on.”
Update: I invited Detroit News managing editor Gary Miles to comment. He writes:
As your Detroit journalist suggested, it’s probably true that nobody filed because of the highly restrictive history of the federal courts. It’s also true that Rhodes barred laptops from the courtroom, barred the recording any proceedings from an overflow room, barred media interviews inside the courthouse and thwarted any attempts to get a photograph of him inside or outside of the courthouse. Yet, given his statements, maybe he was just waiting for a challenge. We should’ve given him the opportunity.