According to a document provided to The Star Press by a court employee, Westbrook was sentenced to 10 days in jail Monday after the judge ruled he was “creating confusion that disturbed the business and proceedings of the court by distributing a letter to undermine the authority of the court and to provide legal advice to defendants in the courtroom.”
That document reflects Westbrook on Monday left Bennington’s courtroom — the Muncie City Hall’s auditorium — “before he could be detained,” but was arrested when he returned for Tuesday’s court proceedings.
Westbrook in recent weeks has distributed a letter calling the judge — who was elected to the bench in 2011 — “One-Term Bennington” and referring to her “fiasco judgeship.”
A member of Westbrook’s family was charged in Muncie City Court with domestic battery in January 2013.
Curtis Westbrook has maintained his family member, and others, have not been informed in advance that City Court trials are bench trials, with Judge Bennington, rather than a jury, deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence. Cases of City Court defendants seeking jury trials are transferred into the Delaware Circuit Court system.
Court officials have denied Westbrook’s allegations . . .
In October and again in November, Bennington denied motions from Westbrook’s relative to have his case heard by a jury, ruling that the deadline for making such requests had long since passed.
At a Tuesday hearing, however, the judge granted the request, and the domestic battery case will be transferred to a Circuit Court.
The letter distributed by Curtis Westbrook — and dropped off recently at The Star Press — calls the process by which City Court cases are transferred a “well-kept secret.” He also maintains Bennington and others have a financial motivation to “keep the City Court litigants in the dark concerning their right to a jury trial,” and suggests defendants could file misconduct complaints against the judge and attorneys involved in their prosecution.
“Finally, remember this come election time!” the Muncie man concludes . . .