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Be Careful What You Say to a Judge

If you have to make a court appearance in West Palm Beach, it is important to know how to act when you’re in the courtroom and what’s appropriate to say. Florida courtrooms are a place where mutual respect needs to be maintained and your defense attorney should advise you of the following.

It is easy to get upset in court if things are not going your way.  Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to be careful what you say to a judge, otherwise you may be held in contempt of court and put in jail.  That is exactly what happened in the following case:

Mr. Chakaris Twine was charged with the crime of possession with intent to sell cocaine. When the judge denied Twine’s motion to release Twine on his own recognizance or reduce his bond at a status conference, Twine responded by saying, “This is a bunch of bullshit.” When the judge confronted Twine about his use of profanity in court, Twine admitted that he had said the words heard by the judge and immediately apologized. When the judge asked Twine if there was any reason he could offer as to why he should not be held in contempt of court, Twine responded, “No, sir.”

Because Twine was represented by a lawyer, the judge also afforded Twine’s lawyer an opportunity to explain why Twine should not be held in contempt of court. Twine’s lawyer readily admitted that Twine had used the profanity heard by the judge, but argued that when Twine’s bond was not reduced, he became emotional and reacted in the heat of the moment, but immediately regretted his outburst and apologized to the judge.

After noting that he had always treated Twine with respect and courtesy, the judge found Twine in direct contempt of court. Before sentencing Twine, the judge asked him if he had any explanation for his conduct. Twine explained that he was upset when the judge refused to release him on his own recognizance because he believed that he had been unfairly arrested by the police, and he was needed at home. He further explained that his 76 year old mother had breast cancer, recently had surgery, and was receiving chemotherapy treatment. Twine also said that he was his mother’s sole caretaker and that she could not care for herself. Despite Twine’s apology and explanation, the judge still sentenced him to 180 days in the county jail, the maximum sentence allowed for direct criminal contempt of court where a person has not been given a jury trial.

If you have been convicted of a crime and need an experienced lawyer to represent you in court, call me Ron Chapman at 561-832-4348. You can also connect with my West Palm Beach Criminal Defense office online. I am a dedicated criminal defense attorney and I can defend your rights. Schedule your free consultation today so that we can review your case.

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