A day after the dramatic sentencing of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to prison on bribery charges, a harsh judgment was heard in the legal community over the conduct of Judge David Rozen, who subjected Olmert to a humiliating tongue-lashing.
Criticism focused not on the six-year prison term, but for the “unrestrained style” and “overblown self-esteem” of Rozen’s remarks in court. “The judge gave an ostentatious one-man show,” a top legal expert told Globes on Wednesday.
“I am simply shocked by everything, the language, the words,” a top defense attorney who was not involved in the case said. The judge used terms in the sentencing such as “traitor” and “rotten” to describe Olmert.
In particular, the defense attorney objected to Rozen’s comparison of Olmert’s offenses to treason.
“The most grating thing was the use of words that are not usual in a bribery trial. What is this word ‘traitor’ in a bribery trial? Even if the idea is to express harshness and setting a higher penalty threshold, you cannot say that a person who accepts a bribe is a traitor.
“There was no restraint here. This is not the kind of trial in which an axe and sledgehammer should be used on the defendants. Olmert isn’t Demjanjuk. The word ‘traitor’ is truly horrifying. Traitors receive the death penalty or life imprisonment. A judge should show restraint.”
Another top attorney said, “Judge Rozen added all kinds of words that added color where none should be added; where the opposite should have been said. He should have calmed the anger. This was already a very colorful case.” Instead, he said, Rosen used “words that did not fit the case, words that are unfitting to the style of the court and unfitting for a judge.”