A judge told a 72-year-old man who has cancer that he ‘should be ashamed’ of himself after he said he was too weak to keep up with his lawn

31st District Court in Hamtramck, Michigan
  • Burhan Chowdhury, of Hamtramck, Michigan, told a judge he had been too weak to clean up his yard.
  • Judge Alexis G. Krot said he should be ashamed and that she would give him jail time if she could.
  • Chowdhury’s son said he usually helps his dad with the yard but he was out of the country.

A Michigan judge berated a 72-year-old man on Monday after he told her he had failed to keep up with the maintenance of his yard because his cancer treatments made him very weak.

In a video of the exchange, Burhan Chowdhury, of Hamtramck, Michigan, can be heard struggling to breathe as he explained his situation to 31st District Judge Alexis G. Krot.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Krot could be heard saying in the video. “If I could give you jail time on this, I would.”

She then issued him a $100 fine, adding: “You’ve got to get that cleaned up. That is totally inappropriate.”

The man’s son, Shibbir Chowdhury, 33, who appeared with his father for the Zoom hearing, spoke up to clarify that his father was sick and that the property had already been cleaned up.

“Do you see that photo?” Krot asked. “That is shameful. Shameful. The neighbors should not have to look at that.”

 

Shibbir Chowdhury told The Washington Post that his father was diagnosed with lymph node cancer in 2019. He said he usually helps keep up the yard for his parents, but he was out of the country in Bangladesh for three months last year. 

He said the weeds grew out around his parents’ house while he was gone. When he returned, his father told him they had received a ticket for noxious weeds and vegetation. Shibbir Chowdhury said he was shocked by the judge’s reaction to the situation.

“She was telling my father, a sick person, that he should go to jail. That’s ridiculous,” he told The 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,” he added.

Shibbir Chowdhury said he is going to pay his father’s fine and has received a lot of support from other people online and in their community.

“People understand that a situation like this can happen with someone who is old or sick,” he said.

Court records viewed by Insider showed the fine was paid on Wednesday.

Krot was appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in August 2016 and elected in November 2018. As a judge, she is unable to comment on the case, WDIV reported.