California Gov. Gavin Newsom continued his attacks against federal judges Wednesday evening, calling into question the character of San Diego-based U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez following a controversial “scared straight” approach on a defendant’s daughter in court last month.
Including a link to a story from the San Diego Union Tribune about the incident, Newsom tweeted:
“Judge Benitez on full display. THIS is the man who is deciding the fate of CA’s assault weapons ban. A man that will handcuff innocent kids in a courtroom for the sake of humiliation. I’m the dad of a 13-year-old daughter – this sickens me.”
The outlet detailed a moment during a Feb. 13 hearing where Benitez told a U.S. Marshal to handcuff the 13-year-old daughter of a defendant who was in court to decide probation revocation following five years in prison and five years of supervised release on a drug conspiracy charge.
After the man told Benitez he was concerned for his daughter because she seemed to be going down the path that ultimately landed him in jail, Benitez asked the girl, who was reportedly crying, to approach him on the stand and had her briefly handcuffed in an effort to scare her away from criminal behavior.
The act resulted in a misconduct complaint being filed against Benitez, which will be reviewed by a higher court.
Newsom’s tweet comes less than a month after he lashed out at a panel of three judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after they struck down a law that banned people convicted of domestic violence from owning firearms.
Newsom fired off at the judges, who decided that the law violated the Second Amendment, calling them “zealots” who are “hellbent on a deranged vision of guns for all.”
Benitez, who overturned California’s decades-old ban on assault weapons in 2021 before a higher court reinstated the law, has been a target for the Democratic governor since the decision nearly two years ago.
Newsom labeled him an “activist judge” and “a wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and National Rifle Association” after he shot down several gun laws in the state and compared an AR-15 assault rifle to a Swiss army knife.
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