Posted on December 15, 2004

La. Judge Suspended for Wearing Blackface

Janet McConnaughey, AP, Dec. 14

NEW ORLEANS — A judge who wore blackface makeup, handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit at a Halloween party will be suspended for six months, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices voted 5-2 to suspend Judge Timothy Ellender for a year without pay for dishonoring his position, but to defer half of that penalty. Ellender will lose more than $50,000 in pay, one judge noted.

Ellender, , testified the costumes worn by him and his wife — she was dressed as a policewoman — were meant only as a joke to show he was her prisoner. The party’s host, Ellender’s brother-in-law, was dressed as Buckwheat.

The justices agreed Ellender did not mean to insult blacks. Nevertheless, they ordered him to take a sociology course “which will assist him in achieving a greater understanding of racial sensitivity.”

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