Corpun file 23536
The Tuscaloosa News, Alabama, 15 September 1969, p.8
Judge Is Suspended Over Whipping Incident
The Washington Post
Click to enlarge
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
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.
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
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
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