Jury Clears Juvenile Judge Philyaw Of Discrimination Charge In Dismissal Of Openly Gay Magistrate

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Judge Rob Philyaw
Judge Rob Philyaw

A federal jury deliberated about an hour on Tuesday afternoon before ruling in favor of Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw, who had been sued by an openly gay magistrate that he dismissed.

Judge Travis McDonough had dismissed the other two defendants - Court Administrator Sam Mairs and Hamilton County - from the case at the close of the proof.

Judge Philyaw said, "I thank the jurors for their commitment to hearing the case and for giving a quick decision. I wish only the best for the Gentzlers. I am looking forward to working even harder for the families and children of Hamilton County."

Elizabeth Gentzler maintained that Judge Philyaw snubbed her after he replaced Suzanne Bailey as judge, then he transferred her to magistrate of the child support court. Then, several weeks after he won election to a full term, he told her he was not keeping her as magistrate.

Ms. Gentzler wound up taking a $28,000 job with state probation. Attorneys said she also worked as a JAG military attorney, but both salaries were less than what she made as a magistrate.

Attorney Stuart James pointed to the testimony of former court officer Jimmy Cannon that "it seemed like he (Judge Philyaw) was afraid of her gayness - that it might rub off on him." He said the judge would "go running" when she was around.

Ms. Gentzler said Judge Philyaw always put her off when she wanted to meet with him, and she said on several occasions she and her female wife were not given rides to events when others were.

Judge Philyaw denied that his decision was based on Ms. Gentzler being openly gay, and he said he is not prejudiced.

Court Administrator Mairs also said the judge is not prejudiced and said, "I wouldn't work for him if he was."

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said Ms. Gentzler and her wife appeared to be paranoid about various issues. Neill Southerland was also on the case for the defense.



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