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Home Invasion Suspect Flips off Judge; Goes to Jail

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By Kamika Dunlap on November 04, 2009 10:07 AM

Kane Kellett gave Judge G. Martin Zopp the finger and in return he got a six-month contempt of court sentence.

As reported by The Daily Herald, the 24-year-old man from Crystal Lake, Ill. was in court on charges including the violent assault of a pregnant woman. When asked to stand and raise his right hand to be sworn, he opted to give Judge Zopp the one finger salute.

Though (at least according to one federal court opinion), giving the bird to a police officer can be constitutionally protected free speech, Mr. Kellett's self expression does not receive the same level of protection.

As one might expect, the rules of what one can freely express change drastically in the courtroom, particularly if addressed to the judge.

Judges can impose sanctions for a variety of behaviors that constitute "contempt of court." Such behaviors might include disobeying a court order, disrupting a proceeding, or exhibiting disrespect for the the proceeding or the judge.

Giving a judge the finger definitely qualifies as demonstrating a contempt for what's going on in court.  

According to the Daily Herald, Kellet was at a rights hearing to face a variety of home invasion related charges when he unfurled the bird and also hurled a slew of profanity at the judge.

Kellett was escorted out of the court room by the bailiff.

Now, he sits in county jail to serve out his six month term for contempt of court.

According to Lake County Police, Kellett also was wanted on charges of aggravated battery and assault. He is accused of attacking two people, including a pregnant woman in the area last month.

The charges had landed Kellett, who said in court papers that he is homeless, on the McHenry County Sheriff's Top 10 Most Wanted List and described as "armed and dangerous" before his arrest Friday night.

If convicted of the home invasion charge, Kellett would face six to 30 years in prison. The aggravated battery charge carries a maximum sentence of two to five years in prison.

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