Judge struck off after jailing 46 in phone row
A US judge has been removed from the bench after jailing 46 people when a mobile phone began ringing during his court session and no one would own up.
The entire courtroom was sent to the cells during a domestic violence hearing when the judge, Robert Restaino, 48, "snapped" and - according to a review of his actions - "engaged in what can only be described as two hours of inexplicable madness".
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommended his removal from the bench, saying Restaino acted "without any semblance of a lawful basis" and behaved like a "petty tyrant".
The bizarre episode began on March 11 2005, when the judge was presiding at Niagara Falls City court over a slate of domestic violence cases.
A mobile phone rang and, furious at the intrusion, Restaino demanded to be told who owned it. "Every single person is gong to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now," he said.