Judge takes bite out of crime

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A former judge who jumped from the bench, ripped off his robe and bit a defendant on the nose was acquitted Wednesday of violating the man’s civil rights.
Joseph Troisi, who was a Circuit Court judge for four years, was accused of confronting Bill Witten after Witten repeatedly cursed at him while being led from the courtroom.
Afterward, witnesses said, Troisi returned to the bench as if nothing had happened.
Troisi could have been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on the federal charge. He has already pleaded no contest to state charges and served five days in jail for assaulting Witten.
Troisi testified in detail about the June 1997 confrontation after a bail reduction hearing in St. Marys. He said he was caught up in “waves of feeling” and not thinking when he exchanged words with Witten.
“I snapped my teeth twice at him. The first time my teeth clicked. The second time I didn’t hear my teeth click. … I looked at his nose and I could see this perfectly round spot on the tip of his nose, and I knew what I had done.”
Troisi said his behavior was “bizarre and weird.” After 10 months of counseling, he said has he come to realize that other stresses in his life — financial, political and familial — had built up inside him.