No guns are allowed in the courtroom… unless you are the judge. Then, you can modify the rules to suit your best interests and heated emotions.
Circuit Judge David W. Hummel Jr. shocked the witnesses in a trial when he pointed a Colt 45 handgun at the corporate lawyers who were getting under his skin. Words would not cut it and the West Virginia judge allegedly let the pistol do the talking.
According to multiple testimonies, Judge Hummel directed the gun at the lawyers during a court proceeding and kept it by his side for the rest of the trial. Why scream at the attorneys when you can silence the absurdity with a threatening gesture?
The case is still pending an investigation and the judge initially denied the claims.
This incident was the unexpected climax to a lengthy feud between Judge Hummel and corporate lawyers representing the natural gas company EQT.
The company faced accusations due to royalty non-payments. EQT has been making royalty payments to landowners in West Virginia for pumping natural gas from their properties. However, in the last ten years, the company stopped doing so due to rising natural gas prices.
Locals sued the company for the lack of payments. The EQT lawyers, led by Lauren Varnado, realized upon investigation that Judge Hummel’s parents had also received royalty payments from the company. The lawyers tried to disqualify the judge from the trial due to a conflict of interest.
Judge Hummel was not disqualified from the trial and he was more than present for the hearing.
The locals of New Martinsville were furious with the company and the team of lawyers requested security for their protection. They hired a team of ex-CIA security contractors to escort them, however, they were barred from entering the court.
According to court documents, Judge Hummel mocked the Varnado team for having security measures. He stated that if there were any security threats, he would be able to address the issues.
Judge Hummel said: “We were never told these folks were security until most recently. I got this man here carrying a man purse, which I make fun of him every damn day for wearing such a sissy-ass contraption.”
“And I hear he has blood coagulant. I have blood coagulant up here too and I’ve got lots of guns. Like, bigger ones too,” he added.
The competition of who had bigger guns ended with a frightened group of lawyers. Varnado said: “It was too stunning to even process it… It was pretty traumatic for multiple people. The whole trial was insane.”
“It’s just a violation of basic gun safety, having it out like that pointing at people… I was on edge. I don’t know if it was loaded,” she added.
People will be extra respectful towards a judge with a gun. There is no room for rebuttals if you value your life.