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Lawyer Who Skipped Trial for Paris, Convicted of Contempt

By Andrew Lu on October 22, 2012 8:58 AM

A Minnesota lawyer who decided to skip a trial last year to attend her brother's wedding in Paris has been convicted of misdemeanor contempt.

After the verdict was read, lawyer M. Tayari Garrett said that "an injustice has been done" and indicated that she will likely appeal the ruling, reports The ABA Journal. She was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $1,000.

Garrett had claimed to be hospitalized, explaining why she could not attend the trial. However, the court found that the lawyer had flown to Paris instead, buying the ticket five days before a request to delay the trial was rejected, reports the Journal.

The lawyer does not seem to deny that she missed the trial to attend the wedding in Paris. Instead, the focus of her defense seems to be that Judge William Howard had a personal vendetta against her in building the contempt case.

Garrett claims that "some people got their feelings hurt" by pretrial battles in the mortgage fraud trial, reports the Journal. During discovery, Garrett reportedly sought to oust Judge Howard from the case twice claiming judicial misconduct and racial bias.

In her contempt trial, Garrett said that Judge Howard colluded with the prosecutor to build the contempt case against her. The defense was not successful as the judge who heard the contempt case called the defense "appalling" to listen to.

Next time, Garrett should seek prior approval for a delay of trial before leaving the state. Each jurisdiction typically has court rules over when a delay of trial may be sought. Hospitalization and incapacity are likely a good enough reasons to delay a trial. As for a wedding in Paris, it just may depend upon your relationship with the judge.

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