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    ‘She Better Check Herself’: Judge Feeds Smug Michigan Woman a Piece of Humble Pie During Courtroom Outburst That Nearly Landed Her In Jail

    By A.L. Lee,


    A Michigan woman already facing charges in a March road rage incident found herself in more hot water when she turned argumentative with the no nosense judge overseeing the case, leading to a fiery reprimand that almost ended in jailtime.

    Chloe Whitsett, 59, of Ann Arbor, got snippety with Washtenaw County District Court Judge J. Cedric Simpson during a March 29 hearing following her arrest two weeks earlier for allegedly ramming another vehicle and threatening to sic her dog on the other driver.

    The defendant had a court-appointed attorney with her to answer to multiple charges — including two counts of assault and battery, two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

    But instead of allowing her lawyer to speak during the hearing, Whitsett spoke on her own behalf, saying she wanted to act as her own attorney, while taking a brash tone with the judge.

    “At this time, yes, your honor, I am dismissing the court appointed attorney at this time,” she stated.

    But Judge Simpson was confused, asking, “Okay, what’s going on?”

    Whitsett’s voice was elevated, as shown in video of the embarrassing episode circulating on social media.

    “Until my family and I decide what law firm we are going to choose, I will be representing myself,” Whitsett said.

    Simpson huffed slightly and sat back in his chair.

    “OK. All right. So, you need time to seek an attorney?” the judge asked Whitsett.

    “Well, not really, but I have a request at this time, as I am representing myself,” Whitsett explained.

    By this point the judge was clearly losing patience as he corrected the defendant on procedure because he had not yet made the decision on whether to relieve Whitsett’s court-appointed lawyer.

    “So, I’m trying to figure out what the issue is and what you’re intending upon doing,” Simpson told the defendant.

    “I’m dismissing the court-appointed attorney and representing myself,” Whitsett roared back confidently. “At this time, I can’t make it any clearer.”

    Whitsett also began speaking loudly over the judge as he sought clarity.

    “You’re not making it very clear to me at all,” Simpson grumbled. “You’re just talking. Are you going to hire an attorney, or are you going to represent yourself?” he asked flatly.

    Whitsett spoke dismissively to the judge.

    “Today, your honor. I’m going to represent myself. If my request is denied by you, then I will be hiring an attorney. I can’t make it any clearer than that,” Whitsett fumed, affirming that she was fully prepared to represent herself.

    “So, if they set it for a preliminary examination, you’re ready to go?” the judge asked.

    At that point, Whitsett admitted that she didn’t “know what all happens today” in court, telling the judge “I’m confused.”

    When Whitsett explained again that she had made the decision to dismiss her court-appointed attorney herself, the judge had heard enough and cut her off.

    “Listen, you can’t just …” the judge started to explain, but he stopped mid-sentence when the defendant leaned on the podium in a manner he found disrespectful, prompting a stern warning from Simpson.

    “Don’t you dare just lean on my podium, and pretend like that. Not here, OK,” he intoned.

    The judge then scolded Whitsett for “banging your manuals on that podium.”

    Next, he moved the woman’s hearing back on the docket and told her to “have a seat,” leading to another testy exchange.

    “Don’t shake your head at me,” Simpson warned Whitsett, who was dressed in a black-and-white striped shirt.

    “I want to have a conversation with her and tell her that she better check herself before she comes back up here,” Simpson fumed as the defendant was led out of the courtroom.

    Later, when Whitsett returned from the break, the court-appointed attorney, who didn’t speak a word earlier, immediately apologized to the judge, saying Whitsett did not fully understand the legal process to become her own attorney.

    “I talked to her about her behavior in court and I think that she has an understanding of that and will abide by anything the court orders her to do,” the attorney said as Whitsett stood with her head now hung low, hands clasped calmly behind her back.

    Whitsett was arrested by Ann Arbor Police officers on March 13 after she allegedly confronted a 21-year-old driver at a red light after Whitsett believed the man had cut her off.

    According to police, Whitsett intentionally rear-ended the man’s vehicle, then got out of her car with a dog and confronted the man outside his vehicle.

    Police said she threatened to let the dog attack the man, but returned the pet to her car and confronted the victim once more, grabbing him and making further threats.

    When a police officer tried to intervene, Whitsett allegedly assaulted and spit on him.

    Arresting officers said they had to use a taser to subdue Whitsett, whose aggressive behavior led to “an extremely dangerous situation,” Washtenaw County prosecuting attorney Todd Ryan said, according to local news reports.

    Meanwhile, Simpson granted a two-week adjournment in the case as Whitsett’s lawyer said he would help the defendant gather discovery and seek a new attorney.

    The judge asked: “Is all of that correct, Miss Whitsett?”

    The defendant spoke up again, but this time with humility.

    “Your honor. I would like to apologize. I had complete zero understanding. Uh, but yes, that is correct,” she said.

    At that point, Simpson appeared to contemplate the earlier exchange, and scratched his forehead, clearly still puzzled by the defendant’s disrespectful behavior.

    “Miss Whitsett, let me tell you something,” the judge explained, taking his time to reflect on Whitsett’s disrespect.

    After a beat, Simpson told the defendant that she had been just one step away from going to jail for contempt.

    “I should have locked you up,” he warned Whitsett. “You’re lucky that I took a deep breath.”

    The judge kept Whitsett on the hot seat for several more minutes, but this time around she stood silent and made no gestures as the judge admonished her.

    “I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on,’ I’m just asking questions, and you come in here — you just come in here disrespecting me and this court,” Simpson said.

    Simpson gave Whitsett’s attorney credit for sparing the woman from jailtime.

    “And I’m going to tell you something else, that man standing beside you right now, that’s the only thing that saved you from going to jail,” he said. “I had pretty much made up my mind. That when I came back out here because of what you had done, you were gone. So while you may not want him representing you. He just saved you.”

    Simpson warned Whitsett about her behavior in future appearances in his courtroom.

    “Let’s remember one other thing. The funny thing about judges. We have exceedingly long memories. You come in here acting like that on the next day I’m not even going to ask any questions. You are just going to go. Are we clear?” he asked.

    “Yes, your honor,” Whitsett answered in a soft tone.

    ‘She Better Check Herself’: Judge Feeds Smug Michigan Woman a Piece of Humble Pie During Courtroom Outburst That Nearly Landed Her In Jail

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