Supreme Court Sanctions Judge Sando’s Probe over Bomi County Attorney’s ‘Flogging’

Cllr.  Juma Karnley being handcuffed while being taken to the prisoner's bench.

Having been accused of authorizing the beating and subsequent imprisonment of Cllr. Juma P. Karnley, Bomi County attorney at the Tubmanburg Central Prison, Judge William B. Sando is expected to appear before the Judiciary’s  Inquiry Commission (JIC) for investigation.

Sando is the resident judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.

JIC is an auxiliary established within the Judiciary Branch with the exclusive power and authority to receive and investigate complaints against judges of courts of record and non-record for violation of any provision of the Judicial Canons.

The Judicial Canons are intended to establish standards for ethical conduct of judges. They are rules for all judges to uphold and promote the independence, integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary, and also avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and moreover, judges must perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.

Sando’s probe stemmed from a formal complaint filed by Cllr. Karnley to Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor, where Karnley claimed that “Judge Sando authorized his officers to handcuff me in open court, restrain my liberty, and thereafter, I was forced into a vehicle that took me to the Tubmanburg Central Prison.”

There has been no date set for Judge Sando’s appearance before the JIC for further investigation into the allegation. However, Supreme Court sources confiding in the Daily Observer said that the judge had already submitted his side of the incident to the Commission, setting the stage for the probe.

Copy of Judge Sando’s response to Cllr. Karnley’s allegation could not be obtained by this newspaper up to the publication of the story last night, because of confidentiality since the case has not been disposed of in court.

But in his complaint, Karnley claimed that his beating and incarceration were ordered by Judge Sando, through which “my phone was taken away from me, and my coat suit and gown were torn apart; they inflicted wounds above my left eye and various parts of my body.”

Further to his letter, Karnley claimed that “Judge Sando authorized his officers to handcuff me in open court to have my liberty restrained, and thereafter, I was forced into a vehicle that took me to the Tubmanburg Central Prison.”

Karnley’s letter said he was also released due to the pressure from the Ministry of Justice, and the intervention of those with close connections to the hierarchy of the country’s justice system.

According to the letter, “the conduct of Judge Sando was contrary to law and constituted gross misuse and abuse of power purposely humiliated, disgraced, defamed and publicly ridiculed me despite being a fellow colleague and a member of the Supreme Court Bar.”

Karnley’s letter requested prompt investigation into the matter for appropriate action so that it can serve as a deterrent for would-be judges, who are engaged in misusing and abusing their power and authority, and to also save the good image of the country’s judiciary.

In support of the call for the investigation of Judge Sando, state lawyers under the banner of the National Association of Prosecutors of Liberia (NAPL) on Monday, March 25, 2019, threatened to boycott all courtroom activities throughout the country if Chief Justice Korkpor refused to reprimand the judge.

In their statement, NAPL’s President, Cllr. Jerry D.K. Garlawolu, said none of his lawyers will ever attend the courts across the country until Judge Sando is investigated for his alleged action against Karnley.


  1. Judge Sando’s actions against a fellow judge reminds us about the days of the rebels action throughout Liberia; “jungle justice!” Judge Sano is wrong on many fronts. Judges Sando and Karnley work for the Ministry of Justice. There are protocols and chain of commands to follow when there are discrepancies. The actions of Judge Sando appears to be that of pure malice because both of these judges know one another very well. Finally, Judge Karnley is a respected judge and widely known throughout Bomi County and beyond. To have treated him this way, is totally unwarranted and lacks jurisprudence. The legal authorities should send a clear message that this kind of behavior is against the norms of the institution and to discourage treating others outside the law!

  2. Let’s get this whole thing straight. Was judge Sando drunk the night before when he took his bushwa action against Karnley? Or, did judge Sando transferr aggression because some problems came up at home? Is judge Sando a regular nutty guy? Judge Sando executed jungle justice when he ordered Bomi county attorney Karnley flogged.

    We have pondered the unthinkable about judge Sando’s miscarriage of justice. Nothing has been learned. The ball spins from the court of public opinion into the court of law. The Supreme Court is poised to show its civility. Unlike judge Sando who showed disregard for the law by ordering a county attorney to be humiliated, the Supreme Court of the land would like to hear judge Sando’s side of the story. That’s positive.

    There’s nothing to cringe about. We will not rush to judgement. We’ll wait to hear judge Sando’s side of the story.

  3. Give a Liberian man power, you can bet he will abuse it. It will take some time for our people to fully adhere to civilized norms. This judge’s behavior is pervasive across the country, especially against the poor.

  4. Yep. It’s like “you give me lemon, I’ll make lemonade”.

    But, it shouldn’t be like that. We have to expunge ourselves from the mess that’s ingrained in our subconscious. Yet, although I sound upbeat, I have not the slightest idea of how the judicial system could change. Maybe, we need to hang in tight, avoid being iconoclastic and pray for a change to come.

    Maybe Phil George will come in with some magic wand that could put a stop to the country’s slippage in the hole. Are there any alternatives?

  5. Thanks Mr. George! Power can cause most Liberians to get drunk! Besides; there be SOME HANDS AND AGENDA IN THAT UGLY ACTION OF JUDGE SANDO! Judge Karnley is smart, highly educated, knows the law, outspoken, eloquent, and not afraid to apply the law whether a rich or poor is involved. The guys are trying very hard to eliminate a VERY GOOD JUDGE; with principles by any means possible! Judge Karnley had the opportunity to be in the states but chose to stay home to serve his people. Is this the payback for the enormous sacrifice Judge Karnley rendering his people and Liberia? The ACTIONS OF THIS SO-CALLED JUDGE, Sando is under-qualified rookie that DON’T DESERVE A PLACE IN ANY CIVILIZED WORLD! By the way, how did he get to be a judge in the first place; bottle, partisan, bribery, or connections job? Judge Sando IS UNFIT AND THEREFORE UNQUALIFIED TO BE A JUDGE!


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