On Tuesday, Sept. 20, a Las Vegas, Nevada defense attorney spars with a judge after refusing to remove a Black Lives Matter pin.
According to The Associated Press, Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon asked deputy public defender Erika Ballou to remove her pin or leave his courtroom and hand her case to another lawyer.
Herndon believes the pin makes a political statement and that it is inappropriate in his court.
But Ballou rebuts the judge’s claims. She says her pin falls in line with others worn by district attorneys and black bands marshals wear.
“I’m asking the same thing of defense attorneys that I ask of anybody else,” the judge says. “Please leave any kind of political or opinion protest statements outside the courtroom … Wear it in the hallway. Wear it in front of the courthouse. Demonstrate. Protest. Use your voice. But that’s not what dealing with justice on an individual case is about.”
The AP reports that Ballou was not alone in her protest. Clark County Public Defender Phil Kohn joined her and insisted that the judge violated her First Amendment right.
“This is not political speech. It is not supporting a particular candidate,” she states. “I believe a courtroom is the proper place. People are getting killed in the streets every day. People who look like me. Black Lives Matter is not a protest against police. It is a protest against police brutality.”
However, Ballou earned a small victory—- Herndon postponed the case to Thursday.