But no one, including Estay and Waddell, says he believes Foreman would wield his hatchet on the basis of the convoluted Popelik scenario.

"I guess I agree with everyone else," Waddell says, "that there has to be more, at least in John Foreman's mind. People figure you've got to be a total idiot to lose your job as a commissioner. I mean, totally incompetent, on the take, doing drugs or something very bad. But I'm not any of those things. The worst thing in my recent evaluation was that I sometimes used the courtroom as a soapbox. But I was dealing with kids' issues, for chrissakes. It's impossible sometimes not to express yourself."
Waddell's severance pay of about five weeks ends September 24. He says he wants to try to put the episode behind him and move on. But he's finding that difficult so far.

"I've always had respect for Judge Foreman," he says, "but I just don't know. Maybe I gave him too much credit. Maybe he felt he had to do something because the Juvenile Court is under pressure with the governor, the attorney general, the Legislature and the public. But he's made a mess of the wrong lives in doing it.

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