A judge in Michigan has apologized after telling a 72-year-old cancer patient he deserves jail time for his overgrown weeds.
The statement from Hamtramck District Judge Alexis G. Krot comes as hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding she be removed from her position.
Krot said she “made a mistake” and “acted intemperately” when scolding Burhan Chowdhury during a virtual court hearing on Jan. 10.
“I apologize to the person who appeared before me and to our entire community for having failed to meet the high standards we expect of our judicial officers and that I expected of myself,” she said in her statement.
Chowdhury and his adult son appeared before Krot after the father was issued a citation for failing to keep the area around his home clear of weeds. Chowdhury explained to the judge that he was “very weak” and unable to take care of the property due to his cancer.
Krot then told the man it is “totally inappropriate” for his weeds to be as overgrown as they were.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Krot said. “If I could give you jail time on this I would.”
Chowdhury was issued a $100 ticket, which his family said they intend to pay, according to WDIV. The man’s son, Shibbir Chowdhury, told the station he normally takes care of the property but he was out of the country.
“It’s still like she should have told my father more politely,” Shibbir Chowdhury said, according to WDIV. “We didn’t really expect this kind of behavior from a respectable person like a judge.”
State Rep. Abraham Aiyash intends to file a complaint with Michigan’s Judicial Tenure Commission for Krot’s behavior, he told the Hamtramck Review.
He told the publication it’s “not the first time” that Krot has “embarrassed the court.”
The Change.org petition has racked up more than 230,000 signatures, with the petitioner saying she is “calling for action from the city” to remove Krot as judge.
Krot said in her statement she will hold herself to the standards she sets for others.
“When someone appears before me and has made a mistake, I expect them to own up to it,” she said. “I expect nothing less of myself. No ifs, ands or buts: that is the reason I self-reported my behavior to the Judicial Tenure Commission. I had no legal duty to report myself to the Commission, but I did so because, like apologizing to the community, it was the right thing to do.”
Krot was appointed to her position in 2016 and won reelection in 2020 when she ran unopposed.