A Michigan judge berated a 72-year-old man battling cancer over his blighted lawn, telling him he "should be ashamed" of himself and that "If I could give you jail time on this, I would."
Burhan Chowdhury of Hamtramck, located a few miles north of Detroit, said during a Jan. 10 Zoom court hearing that he hasn't been able to maintain his yard because cancer treatments have left him weak. He was diagnosed in 2019 with cancer in the lymph nodes.
An image of his property shows overgrown plants and weeds that partially obstruct an alleyway.
Burhan Chowdhury’s property pictured with overgrown grass. He told a Michigan judge last week that cancer treatments have left him too weak to maintain the yard. (31st District Court Hamtramck)
The lack of yard maintenance violates a city ordinance, which he was ticketed for on Aug. 2. 2021.
"I am a cancer person," Chowdhury said. "I was then very weak… I cannot look after these things."
Alexis Krot, a judge with the 31st District Court, was not amused and fined him $100, which is due by Feb. 1.
"You should be ashamed of yourself," Krot responded. "Have you seen that photo? That is shameful. If I could give you jail time on this, I would."
Neighbors told Fox affiliate WJBK-TV that Chowdhury went back to his native country of Bangladesh for about two months in the summer for his son's wedding, and that's when the yard started to get bad.
Shibbir Chowdhury, 33, spoke for his father, saying his parents have tried maintaining the property and that the yard has since been cleaned up.
"She was telling my father, a sick person, that he should go to jail. That’s ridiculous," he told The Washington Post. "You can’t give a 72-year-old person jail time for not cleaning an alley. I was really shocked by it. I didn’t expect her to yell at us in this kind of a situation."
Judge Alexis Krot of the 31st District Court is seen during a court hearing where he appeared to berate a man about his yard. (31st District Court Hamtramck)
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A petition on Change.org has been launched demanding Krot be removed from her seat. As of Monday night, it had more than 194,000 signatures.