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 "Nick the Judge, magistrate rocker" 






Former Swiss District Court Judge Kicked Off Bench for Being In A Rock Band Has The Last Laugh!


“Nick le Juge” has double entendre name that irks former peers...


The story is straight from a graphic novel, or perhaps a cable television series or even a Victor Hugo novel. The drama takes place in Neuchâtel, a city in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, beginning with a young law school graduate named Nicolas Marthe. After finishing law school, Nick took a break before going into practice and traveled to Los Angeles to study his other passion, music; graduating with a degree in bass guitar from LAMA (Los Angeles Music Academy).



After graduating from LAMA, he returned to Neuchâtel to practice law, and before long he was elected to serve as a district court judge. As is the case in many European countries, instead of being elected by a public vote, judges in Switzerland are elected by a board of local parliament members who are in charge of appointing the local judges. Judges serve for a number of years before being considered for re-election. Nicolas Marthe was relatively young when he was elected, and served diligently for 7 years of his term, dispensing justice and upholding Swiss law efficiently and effectively from his judge’s bench. But what was this deep, dark secret, this other “life” that his fellow judges and the local politicians found so heinous, so insidious, and so offensive that they demanded he give it up?



He brought a certain freshness to justice, which has been very well received in progressive circles, but frowned upon by some reactionary minds. For example, he made headlines in the year of 2004 when he acquitted five doctors who had relieved the suffering of seriously ill patients by prescribing cannabis, while the prosecutor demanded the condemnation of these therapists merely because cannabis was not mentioned in the list of medicines formally authorized (click image on the left below to see the press article in French and click image on the right below to read a brief translation in English).



However, as time for his review for re-election neared, the members of the judicial election board were informed by some of his peers that Magistrate Marthe had an evil, dark secret, one that they all agreed was so insidious, so offensive, that they confronted him and demanded that he give up this activity if he wanted to continue being a judge. Nick, when told that he must make a choice between his career as a judge, and this other “life”, responded that he would not compromise his personal freedom and refused to give up this scandalous activity. As a result he was not re-elected, and lost his seat on the judicial bench.

But what was this deep, dark secret, this other “life” that his fellow judges and the local politicians found so heinous, so insidious, and so offensive that they demanded he give it up?


Nick played bass in a local rock band in his free time!



It seems he picked up this horrible habit during his time in the U.S., where while attending LAMA he also played around town in local clubs and bars, associating with that steamy underbelly of society – rock musicians! Nick’s fellow judges and local politicians decided to judge him not on his ability or record as a judge, but on the fact that he loved rock music and chose to play in a rock band in his spare time – an activity they deemed inappropriate and very, very unsuitable behavior for a district court judge of Neuchâtel.


There is no Swiss law that states that a judge cannot play music in his free time,” says Nick, “If I’d chosen to be a concert pianist, or played cello in the local symphony, I would not have had to make this choice between career and personal pastime, but I’m not very good at piano or cello, and I happen to love performing rock and playing bass guitar.” Apparently it wasn’t the fact that he enjoyed performing music that was deemed so offensive so much as the genre of music that he chose to play. It seems these esteemed members of Neuchâtel’s political and judicial system equated rock music with all that is evil in the world, and made that the basis of their decision not to re- elect Nicolas Marthe to his district court judge’s position.


So, now having decided to follow his heart, and having paid the price for it, Nick has gone back into private practice as an attorney in Neuchâtel, mostly representing artists, and he often finds himself presenting cases in front of the very same people who had him removed from his judicial position, which is amusing at times, extremely uncomfortable at others, because to add insult to injury, Nick has continued his musical career professionally, and adopted the professional moniker of “Nick le Juge” (Nick the Judge). In French street slang, “Nick” means “Fuck”, so in essence Nick’s professional name is


"Fuck the Judge"


Apparently this does not sit well with many in the Neuchâtel legal community… especially those sitting in the judge’s seat in the courtroom.


Having spent a great deal of time in the musician’s mecca of Los Angeles, Nick is aware this is a country where former wrestlers can become governors, singers can become U.S. congressmen and actors can become governors and even President. So he made a decision to go back and support Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for the U.S. presidency, and he stayed on after the election to record his debut album with a top level production team. He recently returned to L.A. to work on Obama’s 2012 presidential re-electioncampaign, and to continue work to complete his debut album.



Nick continues to practice law in Neuchâtel in addition to his professional music career, and various French and Swiss news outlets have picked up on his story, which has appeared in major print press  and Nick has given several television and radio interviews


Nick’s album, “Nick le Juge”, with the lead track a very appropriately entitled rendition of Edith Piaf’s “No Regrets” (Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien), has three videos produced by Arnaud Gerardy (who worked with The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tommy Lee), with the second video, for the song “Tu Es A Moi” being banned from YouTube for nudity and sexual content (Nick was forced to re-upload a blurred version to YouTube; an uncensored version is still played on vimeo). Yes, Nick le Juge continues to be provocative, controversial and gives the finger to authority whenever the opportunity presents itself.



Nick is currently seeking collaborators for developing a graphic novel, screenplay and stage production.