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Judge Richard Kopf: Still Crazy After All These Years

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 16, 2017

No. 1,314

I knew it couldn’t last.

Judge Richard Kopf, a Senior United States District Judge in Nebraska, is blogging again.

He shut down his long-time site,Hercules and the Umpire, a couple of years ago because court employees stated in a poll that they thought that the blog reflected poorly on the reputation of the court. He also created a few mild earthquakes when he ventured into the swampy ground of politics.

Yes, there’s a world of literary, artistic and creative endeavors that wouldn’t exist if we insist that people like judges refrain from coloring outside the lines.  Or, as Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja occasionally observes, average is a polite synonym for mediocre.

So now, thanks to the restless imagination of Judge Richard Kopf, we have him contributing his thoughts on life and law in Mimesis Law, subtitled “New Fault Lines Website.”


According to the credits, Mimesis Law is a blog with various contributors.  However, the link above contains only Judge Kopf’s contributions.

Here’s a sample of the wisdom and entertainment we might lose by muzzling the likes of Judge Kopf:


Oct. 28, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — “Ruling upholds extra prison time for felon who laughed during sentencing.”

So wrote the estimable Howard Bashman yesterday, linking to the opinion and the breathless news coverage.  That got me thinking.

Not often, but within the last week for example, a defendant has laughed at me during sentencing. While I have a flash of anger, I have never sentenced someone to a longer prison term because of such behavior.  Why? ‘Cause I always think of the following incident.

I remember an obese judge in these parts whose docket consisted of a fairly large number of professional prostitutes. He tired of seeing one in particular. Thus, he sentenced the prostitute to jail rather than the customary fine.

The lady of the evening then responded, “You’re a fat fuck!” She added, “I suppose your’re gonna give me more time.”

The overweight judge paused. Then said, “No, madam, truth is an absolute defense!”

As judges, maybe, just maybe, we ought not to take ourselves so seriously. But, what do I know?

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge

FOOTNOTE: as defined in Wikipedia

Mimesis (/maɪˈmiːsÉ™s/Ancient Greekμίμησις (mÄ«mÄ“sis), from μιμεῖσθαι (mÄ«meisthai), “to imitate,” from Î¼á¿–μος (mimos), “imitator, actor”) is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitationrepresentationmimicryimitatio, receptivity, nonsensuous similarity, the act of resembling, the act of expression, and the presentation of the self.




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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