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Associated Press, Published March 29 2013

Dakota Co. judge reprimanded for attempts at humor

ST. PAUL — Minnesota's Board on Judicial Standards has reprimanded Dakota County District Judge Richard Spicer for the second time in four years.

The reprimand released Friday says Spicer made around 30 remarks to the jury pool and court staff during a 2011 misdemeanor case that he considered humorous. But the board says many of them "crossed the line of decorum and propriety."

The judge told the board his intent was to make the jurors more comfortable. He waived his right to a hearing.

The board says humor has a place in the courtroom "when used cautiously, sparingly and respectfully." But it says several of his comments were inappropriate, insensitive and demeaning.

Spicer was also reprimanded in 2009 for disparaging a defendant in a 2008 case. He's been a judge since 1991.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.