Torrance Criminal Lawyer Discusses the law of Contempt of Court

The offense of contempt of Court is one involving inappropriate conduct in the judicial system.  The following are examples of conduct considered to be contemptuous and punishable under the law: (1) Conduct tending to disrupt a judicial hearing or proceeding (disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent behavior; breach of peace; or causing a violent disturbance). This is a common basis for using the direct contempt power to control an attorney’s behavior during a trial or other court proceeding. An adjudication of contempt for misconduct during trial is commonly deferred until the conclusion of the trial. At that time, due process requires notice and hearing. But if an attorney persists in misconduct in argument despite admonishment, and if prompt punishment is imperative, the judge may find the attorney in direct contempt and treat the contempt summarily. See McCann v Municipal Court (judge had authority to summarily find defense counsel in contempt for counsel’s direct refusal to obey judge’s order not to continue arguing judge’s evidentiary ruling and for counsel’s rude, hostile, and disrespectful response to judge in front of jury); also the case of Hanson v Superior Court (statement that attorney’s client had not received a fair trial was contemptuous on its face because it impugned trial judge’s integrity by suggesting he had failed in his duty to guarantee a fair trial); and the criminal court case of People v Chong (throughout trial, defense counsel challenged judge’s authority in jury’s presence, made disparaging comments to judge and prosecutor, and violated judge’s rulings). The Court has wide discretion to impose sanctions for contempt of Court and those facing contempt charges need a Torrance Criminal lawyer to defend them in Court.  The penalties for contempt of Court are severe and jail is an option so one treat the allegations seriously.  Although contempt charges are not an everyday occurrence, when they are brought the system will zealously pursue the allegations in order to send a message to everyone that disrespect to the judiciary will not be tolerated.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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