The Law: Feet-First Ritter Under Siege

A crusty Utah judge faces his toughest challenge yet

Federal Judge Willis W. Ritter of Utah once hauled in nearly 30 postal workers for contempt of court because mail-sorting machinery in Ritter's courthouse was noisy. He freed 29 felony convicts simply because no attorney was present at their parole hearings. Once he had a reporter confined for two hours without explanation; a bailiff said Ritter was angered by the journalist picking his nose in court. He frequently bullies attorneys, threatening them with "one of those 150 meals the sheriff serves up." He awarded a group of...

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