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Tuesday, February 7, 2006 - Page updated at 09:13 AM

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Tacoma judge apologizes for leading Super Bowl cheer in court

By The Associated Press

TACOMA — Buffeted by nationwide publicity, a Pierce County Superior Court judge says she is sorry for leading a Super Bowl cheer before a sentencing hearing in a manslaughter case.

Judge Beverly G. Grant issued a statement Monday apologizing to prosecutors, lawyers for Steve Keo Teang and relatives of Tino Patricelli, who was shot to death by Teang a year ago in a fight outside a tavern.

"I take full responsibility, particularly as it has impacted the Patricelli family, the judiciary system and others," Grant wrote. "I have consistently tried to treat everyone in my court with dignity, fairness and respect ... my sincere regrets to all."

On Friday, after all were told to rise when the judge entered the courtroom, she asked everyone to say, "Go Seahawks" before taking their seats. Dissatisfied with the softness of the response, she repeated the request.

Sheriff's deputies and lawyers said afterward they were embarrassed. Kathy Patricelli, stepmother of the dead man, said she was offended.

In an interview with The News Tribune on Friday, Grant said she was trying to ease tensions in the courtroom and dismissed criticism as "trite."

On Monday, following widespread news reports, she told the newspaper she never meant to hurt anyone's feelings.

"I sincerely and humbly apologize if any of my actions caused any hurt or dismay," Grant said. "When you've done something that offended someone, you apologize."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company


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