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Judge: 'I Had Two Robes. The Perpetrator Took One.'

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on November 23, 2011 3:02 PM

"I had two robes," said perplexed Wisconsin Judge Robert Eaton on Monday. "The perpetrator took one. I'm using the other one."

Judge Eaton's statement is his reaction to a bizarre incident that took place last week.

A thief broke into the Ashland County Courthouse and pilfered one of the judge's robes. The daring criminal was caught on camera, but what's strange about the situation is that the motive of the crime seems unclear.

The thief didn't try to steal any valuables, just the robe. And he didn't take both robes, only one.

Perhaps the perpetrator was simply running out of ideas for an extremely late and off-season Halloween costume party.

Or, maybe he thought Judge Eaton had the high-class J-71 judicial robes. These are the types of robes that illustrious individuals such as the nine Supreme Court justices don. Oh, and Judge Judy has one too. The robes are considered the "Lamborghini of judicial gowns" and retail at $400.

A hefty price for what is essentially a rather shapeless draped piece of black cloth.

Whatever the thief's motivations were, it certainly served as a wake-up call about the court's security. If a man can somehow enter into the facility and steal a robe, think about the havoc similar breaches could cause. Someone could break in and steal both of Judge Eaton's robes, causing the jurist to be in some serious trouble. In that scenario, he might be forced to preside over cases plain-clothed, losing his judicial identity, if not credibility.

After all, a verdict handed down by a man wearing a suit just doesn't have the same pizzazz and pomp as one handed down by a man wearing a a really good robe.

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