Judge shames cancer patient for unkempt yard, wanted to order jail time

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HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WTVO) – A Michigan judge is facing backlash after video circulated online of her berating a 72-year-old cancer patient who struggled to landscape his yard.

Burhan Chowdhury appeared in Zoom court on Jan. 10 with his son Shibbir, about a 2021 citation for failure to upkeep the yard at their Hamtramck home. Burhan, who has lymphoma, was too weak to care for the yard while his son was in Bangladesh from May to August 2021. The judge told the Chowdurys that the state of the yard was “shameful” and “totally inappropriate.”

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Judge Alexis Krot said during the appearance. “If I could give you jail time on this I would.”

Upon returning from Bangladesh, Shibbir told CNN he “immediately” arranged for the court appearance and cleaned the yard. He said his father was “feeling shame” while trying to explain his illness to Kaplan, but it is unclear if she heard Burhan discussing his treatment. Shibbir said he was stunned that a judge would speak to them that way.

“We didn’t expect she could tell us like this,” Shibbir said. “Maybe she could have told us more respectfully or maybe, like, normally how people speak.”

The City of Hamtramck, 6 miles outside of Detroit, elected Krot in November 2018. Krot ordered a fine of $100 after Shibbir said that the yard conditions did violate the city ordinance.

An only child, Shibbir told CNN it is difficult to take care of the yard and the fines by himself. He is unsure whether or not a neighbor complained to the city about the yard, but that if they did, he wishes they would’ve talked to him first.

“I just want [that] these things will never, never happen to anybody else, Shibbir said. “That’s what I feel is kind of like racism. It doesn’t matter whether she apologizes because she already did what she did.”

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