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Russian Judge Dozes Off In Court, Jails Man Anyway


Judge Yevgeny Makhno of Blagoveshchensk city court dozes off in court during a hearing in August 2012.

Judge Yevgeny Makhno of Blagoveshchensk city court dozes off in court during a hearing in August 2012.

At the city court in the Far Eastern Russian city of Blagoveshchensk, a judge who fell asleep during a hearing and played with his phone sentenced a man to five years in jail.

As seen in the two videos below, during the trial in August 2012 of Andrei Naletov on fraud charges, Judge Yevgeny Makhno can be seen dozing off during the lawyers' arguments. He can then be seen reading something on his mobile phone during the hearing.

Nevertheless, when the arguments were over, the judge didn't hesitate to find the defendant guilty and give him a five-year sentence.

Blogger and activist Vladislav Nikitenko, who posted the video of the sleeping judge, has called for Russia's Constitutional Court to throw the judge's decision out. "A verdict made on the basis of a hearing in which the judge took no interest in the court investigation and slept during the pleadings cannot be considered lawful," he said.

WATCH: In the first video, Judge Yevgeny Makhno can be seen dozing off as a lawyer presents arguments.


The Blagoveshchensk court is looking into the incident. After the court expressed doubt as to the reliability of the source of the video, Nikitenko posted the second, where Makhno plays with his phone.

WATCH: In this video, Makhno is reading something on his phone as the hearing continues.


Russia's judges are known to be compliant to prosecutors' wishes, so a quick guilty verdict is hardly out of keeping with the country's 99 percent conviction rate. So you can see why the judge may have had trouble keeping awake...

-- Dan Wisniewski

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