Ranting at judges is a terrible idea, and one Florida man's nearly one-year jail sentence is a cautionary tale.
Christopher Colon, 27, appeared before Broward County Judge John Hurley via video link from jail, after Colon's arrest for allegedly violating a domestic violence restraining order. However, after Judge Hurley denied Colon's release from jail, the inmate let loose a profanity-laced rant that ended with a jail sentence, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Can you really get a jail sentence just for ranting at a judge?
- Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a crime? Get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area today.
Contempt of Court
Dumb da-dumb dumb dumb. As the video below shows, Colon was in custody for alleged conduct related to a domestic violence case, for which there was apparently a restraining order:
Colon was also already out on bond when he was brought back into custody for the alleged violation. Judges don't look too kindly on those who commit crimes or violate court orders while already out on bond, so Judge Hurley told Colon he'd be denied release for the time being.
It was possible for Colon to legally fight the restraining order, not to mention politely argue for his release. But no. Instead, Colon told Judge Hurley to "suck his d---" and called him a "p----a-- cracker." Defendants have been slapped with contempt charges for much less.
Criminal contempt of court is an additional criminal charge that can be assigned to a defendant -- or anyone in the courtroom -- for acting in a way that shows disrespect to the court. Colon's insult-studded outburst was more then enough evidence for the court to sentence him for contempt of court, and assign him the maximum penalty of 364 days.
Courtroom Demeanor Can Be Key to Your Case
This may be a no-brainer, but you shouldn't curse at anyone in court, especially a judge, during your criminal case. Your appearance in court can affect any case, civil or criminal, so you should act politely and professionally at all times.
This is especially true when speaking to judges, who have wide discretion in areas like bail or sentencing. Think about it: Would you want to use your authority to help someone if he or she told you to "f--- off"? If you have strong feelings about a ruling, express them to your attorney outside of court.
Colon has 30 days to appeal his contempt sentence, and hopefully his appeal won't be a four-letter one.
- Epic rant in Broward Bond Court leads Florida judge to hand down year in jail (United Press International)
- Courtroom Etiquette 101: Speaking to Judges (FindLaw's Strategist)
- Appeal Court Overturns Ruling of Woman Held in Contempt for Cell Phone Ringing in Court (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Unhappy, Cursing Juror Fined $500 for Courtroom Outburst (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)