Judge Judy is the hissing 70-year-old arbitrator atop the long-running TV show of the same name. Her son, on the other hand, is still a real lawyer, and he's currently embroiled in a very public scandal his mother's tough talk—and reported $40 million annual salary—can't alleviate.
The locale for our tale is Putnam County, New York, where Adam Levy, Judy's son, is the district attorney. Levy is friends with a Romanian immigrant named Alexandru Hossu, who last week was arrested in Putnam County on charges alleging he raped a 12-year-old girl twice in 2010. Levy quickly recused himself from Hossu's case, admitting that Hossu was once his personal trainer, and that Hossu even lived with him up until six months ago. Nevertheless, local sheriff Donald Smith is now accusing Levy of continuing to try and manipulate Hossu's case from afar.
"He is apparently trying to influence and affect the investigation," Smith told the Associated Press, "which could be perceived as an ethical violation of his official duties and perhaps even as an attempt to undermine it."
While it remains a bit unclear what Smith believes Levy's office did to help Hossu, the sheriff is saying that even Levy commenting on Hossu's case was done so as an attempt to distract people "from what this case is really about: the vicious rape of a little girl by a man whom he housed and hired as his personal fitness trainer." Smith also says he wants a federal investigation into whether anyone—Levy or not—"harbored, shielded, aided or abetted" Hossu after his alleged crimes.
Even if he isn't guilty of rape, Hossu is in the country illegally since his work visa expired 12 years ago, another violation Smith is using to hammer Levy.
In response to Smith's attacks, Levy, who says he only became aware of Hossu's immigration status last week, issued a two-paragraph statement last night, part of which read, "Despite Sheriff Smith's unfounded allegations and misstatements, the facts will show my office acted properly in every aspect of the investigation."
USA Today reports that Levy and Smith's public feuding goes back to last year, when the two men clashed over traffic-ticket procedures:
Levy and Smith began feuding openly last summer when Levy moved to let town and village attorneys plea-bargain traffic tickets issued by deputies over Smith's objections. Eventually, Levy got the better of the argument; town and village attorneys now handle traffic tickets in all municipalities except Cold Spring, which has no village attorney.
As these grown men bicker, let's hope that somewhere there is a public servant who is actually taking care of a little girl who was raped.
[Alexandru Hossu mugshot via Putnam County Sheriff's Department]