State Supreme Court sanctions Jackson County Circuit Court judge

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge has been sanctioned by the Oregon Supreme Court over comments he made at the sentencing of a Medford man who is a convicted serial pedophile.

On Jan. 21, 2012, Judge Tim Barnack sentenced Richard Lee Taylor to 21 life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Barnack called Taylor, 60, who had previous convictions in Oregon and California for sexually abusing children, a "piece of s—-."

"You are a bad person," Barnack said at the sentencing. "You will rot in prison."

Barnack, a former Jackson County prosecutor, continued to excoriate Taylor during the sentencing, telling him he didn't belong outside a prison cell, and community members would wonder why he wasn't hanging from a tree.

Taylor will spend the rest of his life in a cell where he can think about the harm he has done the victims, Barnack said, while repeatedly asking Taylor if he wanted to save his soul.

Taylor showed no remorse, stating he had "nothing to say."

"I don't think you have a soul," said Barnack, at the sentencing. "We are going to make sure you never get out."

The Supreme Court ruled that Barnack's comments and behavior violated the Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct which requires a judge to "observe high standards of conduct so that integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary are preserved." It also states "a judge shall not engage in conduct that reflects adversely on the judge's character, competence, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge."

Barnack did not immediately return calls to the Mail Tribune for comment.

The court's ruling states Barnack acknowledges he lost control of his emotions when Taylor declined to speak at the sentencing, and that he was traumatized from viewing videos of the abuse. He acknowledges his comments were inappropriate, it says.

"After sentencing, Judge Barnack sent an email to the other Jackson County Judges apologizing for his remarks at the sentencing of Taylor," the three-page document said.

Barnack sought counsel from the more experienced judges regarding how to best manage emotionally charged courtroom situations. He has adopted procedures that include creating prepared scripts so that "such behavior is not repeated," the document said.

In October 2011, Taylor was found guilty of five counts each of using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree sodomy; and three counts each of first- and second-degree encouraging child sexual abuse. He was sentenced to life on each of the 21 counts.

— Sanne Specht

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