Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Man found guilty of a crime, judge decides it's rhyming time

She's Judge Judy with a dash of Dr. Seuss: Clackamas County Circuit Judge Susie Norby decided to start spitting out rhymes before convicting an Oregon man of stealing a $2,000 bulldog puppy at gunpoint.

JaJuane Deshawn Etheridge, 24, was found guilty Monday of robbery, theft, unlawful use of a firearm, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The entire saga began in 2012 with Etheridge meeting a retired couple in a shopping center parking lot and stealing Harpo, the puppy they had for sale. His girlfriend saw a story about the stolen dog on the news, and called police; Etheridge ended up in a three-hour standoff with a SWAT team before surrendering. While in jail, he was taped berating his girlfriend and telling her not to testify and to stop helping authorities.

Etheridge swore he wasn't guilty, but rather had been set up by friends and his girlfriend — a defense Norby didn't buy. "The inescapable conclusion from the many phone calls and the absurdity of the defendant's testimony on the witness stand is that [Etheridge] will tell any lie, to anyone, at any time, to try to get out of the consequences of his action," she said.

Then, right before announcing her ruling, Norby decided it was time to pull an Emily Dickinson and share a poem she had written for the occasion: "You lied and lied; I can't put that aside. It was your car; you went too far. You hid the pup; the jig was up. You got rid of the gun; your game is done."

Etheridge will be sentenced August 1, perhaps in the form of a sonnet.