Client didn’t die quick enough contempt

(Second of two posts — See first Contempt here)

I was kicked out of a courtroom when I raised my voice to a judge who seemed to be favoring an assistant district attorney who wanted my client removed from hospice because he hadn’t died soon enough after I got him out of jail.

The Common Please Court judge allowed the transfer after hospice officials contacted me and secured a location for him. He had access to a phone and evidently contacted some of his children. He had once been charged with reckless endangerment of the kids and the ADA wanted his dying days to end back in prison.

It was the call to the kids that must have ticked off the young attorney with the district attorney’s office. She was the lawyer that lost the endangerment case in front of a very fair and moderate Philadelphia judge named Anthony Defino.
I firmly believe that she was out to get him because of that loss. Yes, I raised my voice unable to control my anger when the judge began to side with the ADA. The jurist scowled at me and then ordered sheriffs to escort me into the courtroom lock-up where I remained until a supervisor from my office – the Defender Association of Philadelphia – came to court and got me out with a vow that I would never return to her courtroom.

The judge and the ADA are no longer working in the court system. But I won’t reveal their names until they stop their practice. I joked with friends that I would make a contribution to my old law school to create a urinal with the ADA’s name on top. I figured her name could help people to get really “pissed off.

The judge is the only jurist I had ever requested a recusal when she showed her bias in trying a rape case. Yes, several weeks before this hospice proceeding, I had asked her honor to recuse herself in the middle of a trial which was unheard of up until that point in my career.

However, there is a provision in Pennsylvania law that allows a lawyer to request a jury trial when appropriate.
My client had mental health problems and had to reveal that when he agreed to have her hear the case. I believed she held that against him from the start from some of things she said to me and the ADA. During the trial, I secured the testimony of a highway patrol cop who spoken to the alleged victim shortly after the incident but she said nothing to him. In most if not all cases, a rape victim would immediately tell a cop she was assaulted but had she said nothing. And what could she then tell her husband about staying out all night with another man?

I even introduced “character” evidence to show that my client – a boxer – had never been convicted before. The witness was the president of the Philadelphia NAACP, who later became a judge in Philadelphia’s common Pleas Court. (That’s a helluva character witness in my humble opinion!)


I cried like baby in the small visiting room after my client was sentenced by the judge. I never felt that before or after in my career. And I still am guilty of holding contempt for this court.

(To hell with my earlier pledge – the judge was Renee Cardwell Hughes, the ex-wife of State Senator Vincent Hughes, and the ADA was Liz Jobes.)

6 comments on “Client didn’t die quick enough contempt

  1. Vikki says:

    You have to learn how to yell Santaguida-style! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael – You have a great heart ! You deserve to be called Bodhisattva … Merry Christmas 🎄

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] (See Guilty of Contempt for Judge’s Court) […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.