Zoom court is still court, even for the judge


Marie E. Matyjaszek

Many people forget that attending Zoom court is still court. It may not have the pomp and circumstance like the wood and marbled courtrooms, but the rulings and sentences are still the same. 

I’ve seen my fair share of questionable outfits (or lack thereof), and interesting places that people camp out for their appearance in court. My favorite was a bathroom, and I had to ask the party if he was there to do business or just find some peace and quiet. Luckily, it was the latter (allegedly).

In Columbia, it appears that even judges are not immune to poor outfit and location choice, as Justice Vivian Polania was recently suspended for three months due to holding court in her underwear in bed, while smoking a cigarette. I mean, if you’re going to be this reckless, go big or go home.

Apparently, Polania is well known for posting provocative pictures of herself on her Instagram, so the thought of her holding court in bed, half-dressed, isn’t a big stretch of the imagination. Her social media posts have prompted disciplinary investigations in the past, but she remained undeterred and upped the ante with the recent antics. Her suspension is unpaid, so who can blame a girl for a little side hustle? 

The online video of her during the hearing shows her semi-awake in the middle of a yawn. To double down on the questionable behavior, Polania slurred her words and turned off the camera at one point, perhaps realizing that her appearance wasn’t the most judge-like. Even more disturbing is the seriousness of the hearing she was presiding over at the time – whether bail should be granted for a man accused of a car bombing. 

Her response to why she appeared in such a state was that she was suffering from an anxiety attack and had low blood pressure. Polania declared that she will not change her personality to align with other people’s expectations. Clearly, she is an unconventional judge, but that shouldn’t excuse unprofessional and outlandish behavior. 


Marie Matyjaszek is an attorney referee at the Washtenaw County Friend of the Court; however, the views expressed in this column are her own. She can be reached by e-mailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.

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