A JUDGE has hit the headlines after vaping his way through a high-profile murder trial.
Justice Vincent Del Giudice was spotted covertly enjoying an e-cigarette as he presided over a string of cases at the Brooklyn Supreme Court including the ongoing murder trial of accused “Brooklyn Ripper” Daniel St. Hubert.
During the hearing of St. Hubert, who is standing trial for allegedly murdering a child and seriously injuring another four years ago, the judge of 38 years appeared to routinely hold his hands up to his face as though stroking his goatee beard in contemplation.
But photos of Del Giudice show a blue light peeking out from his closed fist, showing he was secretly using a vaporizer.
“Everybody knows about it, but nobody says anything,” one court worker told the New York Post newspaper.
The judge’s not so subtle vaping has reportedly “raised eyebrows” among courtroom lawyers who deem it not just unprofessional but in violation of a 2017 law barring the use of vaporizers indoors and in any public place where smoking is barred.
“I wouldn’t ever think it’s appropriate to even do that in a public building, much less on the bench,” said one attorney who has appeared before Del Giudice for years but was not involved in the “Ripper” case.
Another attorney joked to the New York Post: “The only reason I never became a judge is because I can’t smoke my cigars on the bench.”
Smoking or vaping inside court rooms is illegal under the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act and breaking the law is punishable by a fine up to $2,000 dollars, according to the state Health Department.
A journalist from the New York paper has since approached Del Giudice at his bench after court proceedings to offer his right to reply.
On seeing the judge with an e-cigarette in his mouth, the journalist said: “I was hoping to speak to you about that precisely,” to which the judge reportedly replied “No comment,” before quickly pocketing the vape pen.