A controversy-courting Colombian judge who was caught smoking in her underwear during a Zoom hearing has been suspended, according to local news.
The incident was brought to the attention of Colombia’s National Commission of Judicial Ethics after one of the solicitors on the call reported Judge Vivian Polania’s alleged impropriety.
The 33-second video clip appears to show the judge from Cucuta dressed in a top and her underwear as she puffs on a cigarette and debates during the virtual hearing over whether a man who was being held over a car bomb terror attack should be granted bail.
The judge has repeatedly received warnings for posting pictures on her personal Instagram account in scantily clad outfits with clothing discount codes alongside them.
In response to those earlier warnings, Ms Polania responded by claiming that she was simply expressing herself as a “braless and open-minded” person.
“Not all judges, lawyers and other state employees are the same. What I wear and show on my social media is my decision and I’m not going to change a thing,” she said at the time.
This time, however, the repercussions being doled out against the Colombian judge are not because of how she conducts herself online in her personal domain, but rather her online professional sphere.
Colombia’s National Commission of Judicial Ethics said in a written ruling on Ms Polania’s suspension, which will be in effect till February 2023, that though the courtroom was virtual, she still had “all the amenities necessary” to make herself presentable.
“It is a duty of this commission to avoid repeating the judge’s contempt for the investiture of her position and the contempt she showed with her peers in the public prosecutor’s office, the prosecution and the defence,” the commission wrote in its suspension decision.
“We find no justification for the judge to have presented herself in such deplorable conditions when she had the facilities of her own home and all the amenities necessary to prepare for a public hearing appropriately and with the respect such a hearing deserved.”
Speaking to a local radio station about the incident, Ms Polania argued that the video clip that’s been circulating online is misleading, as, she claimed, she’d only lain down because she was suffering an anxiety attack during the proceedings, El Pais reported.
Ms Polania also claimed during the interview with Blu Radio that she’s been bullied by fellow magistrates for years because of her online conduct, adding that those individuals had allegedly told her that “if I did not change my way of being they were going to open a disciplinary investigation”.
“You never know when you’re going to have an anxiety attack. I always wear my gown,” she told the radio station this week, El Pais reported, before she added that she “had low blood pressure”.