Overreaction? You decide.
Here is the situation, two lawyers finished up their argument and started to walk away. One lawyer says to the other, commenting on the evidence of a witness, "He's a f--king liar." The judge, hearing this, asks the lawyer to confirm what the lawyer said. The lawyer answers the judge that, yes, he did in fact use the word in a statement to opposing counsel.
The judge finds the lawyer in contempt. He sentences him to 6 months in jail.
And no, this is not a hypothetical. It happened a few days ago in a Cincinnati courtroom. Apparently Michael Brautigam said the words and said them within the hearing of the wrong judge. Judge Robert Ruehlman has a history of being hard on profanity in his courtroom.
Now, I can understand finding a lawyer in contempt for using profanity in the courtroom. I can even understand levying a fine or something. But six months? When word wasn't used to the court but in a conversation to another lawyer on the way out?
As a rule you should never use profanity in court. However, in this case, six months seems a wee bit on the excessive side.
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