AKRON, OH - A tough talking judge tried to get the attention of a repeat offender in Akron Municipal Court by suggesting society would be better off without him; now the whole community is listening.
Retired Barberton Judge Michael Weigand was presiding as a visiting judge over arraignments on June 30 when 21-year-old Keith Waterbeck of Akron came before him. Waterbeck’s rap sheet included twelve cases dating back to 2011, including the domestic violence conviction that had him in court.
Judge Weigand told Fox8’s Lorrie Taylor he realized the numerous court-ordered rehab programs Waterbeck had been sentenced to were doing him no good, all because the admitted drug addict failed to complete them.
"I asked him when's the last time you used, he said two days ago," said the Judge.
Waterbeck asked the Judge to sentence him to rehabilitation program instead of a prison cell and the Judge had this to say, "You're not going to help yourself, I'm just, you know, balancing spending the taxpayer's money or just letting you go out and maybe kill yourself."
Weigand suggested, “You’d be doing society a favor if you did.”
The Judge denied there was any malice intended by his comments.
"I hit him with the only ammunition I had and that was to get his attention," said the Judge, who spent 18 years of his legal career as a defense attorney. "He seemed to get nervous and that's the effect I wanted and he turned around and said help me."
Judge Weigand sentenced Waterbeck to 30 days in a Community Based Corrections Facility Rehabilitation program.