Judge Marilyn Castle Rules Lawyer Was In Contempt Over Recording
On Friday, 15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle ruled that public defender Michael Gregory was in contempt of court when he recorded the incident on his cell phone.
According to our news partners at KATC, Judge Castle's order bans the attorney from bringing a phone to court for six months. He'll also have to pay a $100 fine.
Was the judge in the right to pull this rarely seen maneuver?
“Absolutely. Under Louisiana law, Supreme Court decisions, US Supreme Court and Louisiana Supreme Court decisions all say that it’s the discretion of the judge and they can do it,” said Lafayette attorney Tommy Guilbeau.
Duhon was sentenced to eleven years after being found guilty of theft of over $25,000 and money laundering. The judge also recommended he receive mental health treatment. Duhon’s attorney eventually asked for the tape to be removed and to have his client escorted out of the courtroom. Guilbeau says the judge has the responsibility to make sure justice is done and court business is carried out.
Guilbeau says a judge can order someone to be bound, gagged, duct taped, or removed from the courtroom.
“They know better. They can be held in contempt and in this case, he got his mouth taped. He should have calmed down and done what she told him several times, in my opinion,” said Guilbeau.
Legal analyst Tim Meche says there was an alternative to taping the man’s mouth shut to stop his courtroom disruptions.
“With the technology we have available, the recommended path is to remove the defendant from the courtroom and have him listening to the proceedings through technological devices,” said Meche.
The ACLU calls the incident shocking, dehumanizing, and brutal.
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Court logs show a Louisiana district court judge ordered a man's mouth be taped shut for repeatedly interrupting proceedings.
The Acadiana Advocate reports Michael C. Duhon was being sentenced July 18 for theft and money laundering.
Court minutes show Duhon objected when Judge Marilyn Castle asked him to stop submitting motions on his own behalf instead of through his attorney. After repeatedly requesting for Duhon to be quiet, Castle ordered the bailiff to tape Duhon's mouth shut.
The tape was removed after an objection from Duhon's public defense attorney, Aaron Adams, who requested the judge remove his client from the courtroom instead.
Castle sentenced Duhon to 11 years in prison and recommended he be transferred to a facility with mental health treatment options.
Another public defender in the courtroom faces contempt charges for recording the incident.