Amy Fisher, magical mistress of multitasking

Lecherous judges, Marla's spurned shoes and Exxon's exxcellent adventure in non-payment.

By Douglas Cruickshank

Published April 29, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

As you've heard, Amy Fisher will get out of jail any day now. And while many of us can't walk and use a Nokia at the same time, Fisher, according to a recent report, can do all that and then some. In a story last week, Associated Press writer Judie Glave explained precisely how the "Long Island Lolita" got in her present pickle: "In 1992, Ms. Fisher, then 16, knocked on the door of Mrs. Buttafuoco's Massapequa home and shot her in the head. At the time, Ms. Fisher was having sex with Mrs. Buttafuoco's husband, Joey." Amazing, huh? But what's not mentioned in Glave's account is that at the time, Fisher was also knitting an angora cardigan and preparing coq au vin with a side of butter peas while trading September pork bellies, reading Chaucer in the original and juggling four bone china teacups with her left toe.

Appearing in court last Thursday, where she apologized to Mary Jo Buttafuoco, Fisher was told by Judge Ira Wexner, "You are still a young woman and could be a productive member of society if you channel your energies. Based on the information I have received, I believe you can do that." And I couldn't be more convinced myself.

Judge Wexner, it should be noted, was not among the judges singled out in a National Law Journal story dated May 3. That
report, a roundup titled "Judges behaving badly (again)," is an annual feature highlighting "stupid judge tricks" and published in recognition of Law Day (May 1). The article, by NLJ staff reporter Gail Diane Cox, acknowledges that none of this year's distinguished jurists "rivaled Richard 'Deacon' Jones of Nebraska, whom the NLJ spotlighted last Law Day for signing court orders 'Snow White' and urinating on a colleague's carpet." Nonetheless, Cox was able to pull the rug back on several notable instances of aberrant behavior by guardians of justice.

Among other misdeeds, south Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Bernard J. Avellino once referred to a female assault victim as "coyote ugly." The wily Avellino is no longer on the bench. In the case of a 22-year-old female charged with drunk driving, Michigan's scandalous Judge James Scandirito suggested she meet him at a bar to get to the bottom of her predicament. Scandirito is now on leave, and he invites you to meet him for a drink. Meanwhile, in West Haverstraw Village, N.Y., Judge Ralph T. Romano listened to the charges against a man accused of assaulting his wife with a telephone and responded, "What's wrong with that? You've got to keep them in line once in a while." Before Romano was relieved of his duties, his attorney explained that "his real problem was a tendency toward 'lightheartedness.'"

And then there's the nicely monikered Benny Swindell, circuit chancery judge in Clarksville, Ark. Judge Swindell, who ran for election on a platform that included offering judges "more options" in dealing with youthful offenders, was not just making campaign promises. "On George Washington's birthday, 1997" the NLJ's Cox writes, "the judge took a boy whom he had sentenced to a youth facility [for a negligent homicide conviction] with him to an out-of-state casino and staked him to a session with the slot machines." It was "so innocent," the judge told the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. "It was contributing to the delinquency of a minor," the commission countered. Judge Swindell is history.

Chuck Jones and Marla Maples, the estranged wife of Donald Trump, are, however, still a happening thing in Manhattan Supreme
Court. Jones, Maples' former publicist, who's defending himself, and who's admitted to committing nookie with her Nikes, now claims he cheated on her shoes and did the deed with Maples herself.

Last week, Jones told the Daily News: "She and I had an affair. I'm going to ask her about it. I can't protect her anymore. Unfortunately, some of the truth is going to hurt both of us." Oh boy, when her Reeboks hear about this there's going to be no consoling, or resoling, them! And let's not even touch on the whole itchy issue of the intimate transmission of athlete's foot. Indeed, Jones confided to the Daily News, "I don't want to get into the details yet. But we weren't baking cakes." Whoa, didn't even know there were cakes involved.

Now, let's take a short breather and turn to crimes of lesser gravity. The May Harper's Index reports the following:
"Number of the 25 species seriously affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez Alaskan oil spill that have fully recovered: 2. Amount of the $5 billion that Exxon was ordered to pay in punitive damages in 1994 that it has paid: $0.
Estimated amount that Exxon has earned by investing this money in the meantime: $5,000,000,000." Exxcellent!

And yet, there are rays of sunshine here and there. In Pennshauken, N.J., last Wednesday, an 83-year-old woman saw an intruder entering her garage. She quickly drew her remote control garage door controller, aimed it, and slammed the door shut. Neptune Steele, 27, was still trapped inside when the cops arrived.

Douglas Cruickshank

Douglas Cruickshank is a senior writer for Salon. For more articles by Cruickshank, visit his archive.

MORE FROM Douglas Cruickshank

Related Topics ------------------------------------------