A controversy-courting Colombian judge who was caught smoking in her underwear during a Zoom hearing has been suspended, according to local reports.
The incident was brought to the attention of Colombia’s National Judicial Ethics Commission after one of the appeal’s lawyers reported Judge Vivian Polania’s alleged impropriety.
The 33-second video clip appears to show the Cucuta judge dressed in a top and her underwear as she puffs on a cigarette and debates in the virtual hearing about whether a man being held for a terrorist car bombing should be released on bail.
The judge has repeatedly received warnings for posting photos to her personal Instagram account in scantily clad outfits with clothing discount codes next to them.
In response to those earlier warnings, Ms Polania responded by saying she was simply speaking as a ‘bra-free 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 won’t change a thing,” she said at the time.
This time, however, the repercussions inflicted on the Colombian judge are not due to the way she behaves online in her personal domain, but rather to her professional sphere online.
Colombia’s National Judicial Ethics Commission said in a written decision on Ms Polania’s suspension, which will be in effect until February 2023, that although the courtroom is virtual, it still has “all the amenities necessary” to make themselves presentable.
“It is the duty of this commission to avoid repeating the judge’s contempt for the investiture of her position and the contempt she has shown towards her peers in the prosecution, prosecution and defence,” said writes the commission in its suspension decision.
“We find no justification for the judge to appear in such deplorable conditions when she had the facilities of her own home and all the conveniences necessary to prepare for a public hearing appropriately and with the respect that a such an audience deserved.”
Speaking to a local radio station about the incident, Ms Polania argued that the video clip circulating online was misleading because, according to her, she only lay down because she was suffering from an anxiety attack during the procedure, El País reported.
Ms Polania also claimed in the interview with Blu Radio that she had been bullied by other magistrates for years because of her conduct online, adding that these people would have told her that “if I don’t didn’t change my way of being, they were going to open a disciplinary investigation”.
“You never know when you’re going to have a panic attack. I still wear my dress,” she told the radio station this week, El País reported, before adding that she “had low blood pressure.”