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Judicial CP - September 1969

Corpun file 23536

The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama, 15 September 1969, p.8

Judge Is Suspended Over Whipping Incident

The Washington Post

Press cutting

WASHINGTON -- A suburban Arlington County (Va.) court judge has been suspended pending Circuit Court scrutiny of the strapping of an 18-year-old woman in his courtroom as punishment for shoplifting.

Cynthia Gatling, of Arlington County, was struck with a belt about a dozen times by her mother at the suggestion of County Court Judge L. Jackson Embrey after the girl pleaded guilty to shoplifting merchandise from a department store.

A letter directing that Embrey not be assigned any work for an indefinite time was sent to Chief County Court Judge Thomas W. Dodge.

The directive was signed by the three Arlington Circuit Court judges now sitting, Charles S. Russell, Paul D. Brown and William L. Winston, the presiding judge.

Embrey confirmed that he suggested the strapping of the young woman after she pleaded guilty to shoplifting merchandise.

He said he did so because he did not want her to have a permanent record, yet felt some punishment was needed because she "showed no remorse at all" over the misdemeanor.

Embrey said the idea of a spanking came to him after he asked Mrs. Gatling how long it had been since her daughter had been strapped or spanked.

"She said it had been a good long time, and I asked if it would help any if she was spanked now."

Embrey said he asked the girl's mother, Ovella Gatling; her lawyer, Thomas Monroe; and the girl's grandmother if they had any objections and none was raised. The women and Monroe refused comment.

Embrey recalled that he then said to Mrs. Gatling, "Why don't you sit right over there and do it?"

He said Mrs. Gatling "put her (Cynthia) over her lap and spanked her on the fanny" with a belt borrowed from a male spectator in the courtroom. The judge said he observed that Cynthia "was still smiling both before and after" the strapping.

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