A case in the US involving contempt of court

"Contempt of Court" is when a judge decides to punish you for rude/disruptive behavior in a court room, sometimes through a jail sentence. In this case a female defendant was rude to a judge and he gave her 30 days in jail for comtempt of court.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d8a_1360047793

I'm not in favor of people being rude in court. Though to me it seems excessive that the judge gave her 30 days in jail, or that he's even allowed to do that. Judges have the power to sentence convicted criminals, but why should they be allowed to jail you for being rude? It's like they are noblemen with special rights and we are just peasants.

If someone is rude in court, they should be first given a warning. If they continue being rude/disruptive I think they should be temporarily restrained or even possibly gagged until the hearing is over. But what this judge did goes way too far.

They have the power to give 30 days, as far as I know. Hell, they have the power to give any sentence (as far as I know) as long as it doesn't breach the constitution. However, he can expect said sentence to be appealed and overturned.
The defendant did look high, though. Why not simply mandate a drugtest? If he can sentence her to jail, he can make her pee in a cup.

JRslinger:

If someone is rude in court, they should be first given a warning. If they continue being rude/disruptive I think they should be temporarily restrained or even possibly gagged until the hearing is over. But what this judge did goes way too far.

Um, he gave her several warnings. Gagging them is a violation of their civil rights, and holding people in contempt of court is a measure to stop people from trying to disrupt the system in any way.

Anyway, this woman was already in legal trouble and guilty, so he just gave her the maximum sentance for her crime instead of the much more reasonable initial punishment of $5,000 for drug possession, then $10,000 when she wouldn't stop being a jackass about it.

So the moral of the story? Don't be a jackass in court, it doesn't convince the judge to give you a lesser sentance.

Still, at least she actually committed a crime first. Cracked.com enlightened me to the case of a lawyer who was held in contempt of court for making a jerking off gesture to the judge (and in cracked's own words "made a 'take this man to jail' gesture, winning the most high-staked game of paper-sissors-rock ever.").

Shaoken:

JRslinger:

If someone is rude in court, they should be first given a warning. If they continue being rude/disruptive I think they should be temporarily restrained or even possibly gagged until the hearing is over. But what this judge did goes way too far.

Um, he gave her several warnings. Gagging them is a violation of their civil rights, and holding people in contempt of court is a measure to stop people from trying to disrupt the system in any way.

Anyway, this woman was already in legal trouble and guilty, so he just gave her the maximum sentance for her crime instead of the much more reasonable initial punishment of $5,000 for drug possession, then $10,000 when she wouldn't stop being a jackass about it.

Oh no no no, that 5000 was for bond meaning she had to pay that in order to be released before her actual court date. I imagine she will get a much tougher sentence for possession. I think she'll think twice before flipping a judge the bird in her actual trial, you know if she has any common sense.

OP: I just looked up the maximum sentence and texas has it at 6 weeks or 500 dollars fine, I wanna say fines are usually laid against attorneys I mean I'd think it's preferable to give jail time over a fine that won't get paid. My opinion she had it coming maybe not to that extent but it's at the judges discretion and I'm sure everyone knows judges can be pricks. Most of the ones I've been in contact with or heard about have a severe power complex. I saw one judge go off on a girl making her cry even though she got the lesser of two sentences in a fight, when he told her her sentence she looked back at her parents and he yelled this isn't their decision it's yours.

JRslinger:
Judges have the power to sentence convicted criminals, but why should they be allowed to jail you for being rude?

Because some people think that the entire world and courts in specific, only exist to serve their divine person and can't be called to order in any other way than dragging them off and throwing them in a prison cell.

Most recent example: Donald Trump. Even if they predictably throw out his latest bullshit case against Maher and fine him, he won't learn.

Holding him in contempt if he actually tries to wage the case and locking him up however, that should probably return him to reality in a hurry.

I just find it absurd that the judge doubled her bail from $5000 to $10,000 just because she said, "Adios". It seems rather ridiculousness. As for the finger and f**k you think, I'm a bit split on that. While you should certainly be respectful, especially in court, I don't see how that warrants 30 days jail time. Though she was technically in contempt of court, as in she didn't respect it, the trial was over for her so I don't see what she was interrupting or obstructing.

Also the judge did have it coming, doubling her bail because she said 'bye' in a different language...

TKretts3:
I just find it absurd that the judge doubled her bail from $5000 to $10,000 just because she said, "Adios". It seems rather ridiculousness. As for the finger and f**k you think, I'm a bit split on that. While you should certainly be respectful, especially in court, I don't see how that warrants 30 days jail time. Though she was technically in contempt of court, as in she didn't respect it, the trial was over for her so I don't see what she was interrupting or obstructing.

Also the judge did have it coming, doubling her bail because she said 'bye' in a different language...

Well she was acting like a Jackass the entire time, so it's less that she said bye in a different language and more that it was the last straw. Especially considering she was laughing the entire time.

In most situations, if you insult someone or disrupt their operations, they can refuse to interact or carry out a transaction with you in return.

This is not a tactic available to certain bodies such as the court, because everyone must have access to the law, even if they are a knob-end. It is thus reasonable for the court to be allowed to impose punitive measures for dicking around with it.

It may be worth noticing that the case the topic was started about, the sentence has been cancelled out now after she apologised.

Well, mistake rectified far too late is better than mistake left I suppose.

This because I hadn't watched the footage before, and have now. That judge is an authoritarian idiot. Even if she was barely taking it seriously, he was completely out of line doubling her bail and then imposing such a harsh sentence on her.

Right next to the article about this girl being held in a prison for days for sticking the finger to someone who imposed an unreasonable sentence on her, was a related article that said a military contractor who had murdered an innocent Afghan civilian in cold blood, has gotten five years probabition a.k.a. gets away completely unpunished.

The whole drug war thing going on in America is stupid anyway...so I doubt I'll agree with any sentence she'll be getting for it. But that's a different topic I guess.

On topic, she deserved the first sum of 5,000 dollars to be released. 10,000 after that was over the top. Maybe...6~7000... 30 days of jail after that, well... I think it was a bit too much. 2...very maybe 3 weeks, but not an entire month.

30 days is more than most legal systems hand out for punching somebody. While there must be measures in place to ensure that a trial can be conducted, it seems a disproportionately hard sanction. Defendants should also be able to voice their opinions on a judge, insofar as they do so in a way that doesn't cause disorder, and doesn't entail untrue accusations against him.

I suppose her conduct was somewhat disorderly, but surely a fine would have sufficed. Though if it's standard fare to impose such sanctions, then retracting them after they've worked to calm people down, that's merely inelegant rather than disproportionate.

The law is a farce, they have to give harsh and petty punishments to the disobedient to uphold that illusion that "formal" authority is worth anything. Otherwise it could crumble, like wow. And that would be bad for any tenpenny authoritarian who thinks he's (or she's) god's gift to society because of some very big words on paper.

Contempt of court is the primary legal mechanism judges use to coerce people to participating in the legal system properly. It's what they use when you don't show up to a hearing, when you refuse to answer questions, when you leak sealed information to the media, when you shout at the opposing party or when you give the judge the finger. If judges did not have this mechanism, there would be no real bar to preventing misconduct inside or outside the court that could disrupt legal proceedings.

That said, there are a massive number of judges in the US and a certain percentage of them are stir-crazy, so contempt charges are occasionally misapplied. But the fact is that these charges are reviewed (you can, of course, contest them like any other charge) and if they're baseless, as in this case, they get thrown out. Only in rare cases - usually in low-profile courts - are people actually imprisoned for shouting at the judge.

And in their defence, judges have to put up with a lot of bullshit on a daily basis, and they don't have the option of just throwing up their hands and telling the other party to fuck off - everyone has to have access to the legal system, so judges are forced to deal with unruly asshats. So they get used to using contempt like whip. I mean, you'd probably do the same.

MammothBlade:
The law is a farce, they have to give harsh and petty punishments to the disobedient to uphold that illusion that "formal" authority is worth anything. Otherwise it could crumble, like wow. And that would be bad for any tenpenny authoritarian who thinks he's (or she's) god's gift to society because of some very big words on paper.

If you'd prefer a society with no rule of law where the only authority comes from physical coercion, you're welcome to move to the totalitarian dictatorship or post-apolcayptic wasteland of your choice.

bastardofmelbourne:
The law is a farce, they have to give harsh and petty punishments to the disobedient to uphold that illusion that "formal" authority is worth anything. Otherwise it could crumble, like wow. And that would be bad for any tenpenny authoritarian who thinks he's (or she's) god's gift to society because of some very big words on paper.

If you'd prefer a society with no rule of law where the only authority comes from physical coercion, you're welcome to move to the totalitarian dictatorship or post-apolcayptic wasteland of your choice.[/quote]

That's a false dichotomy, I'd prefer a society based on mutual respect and understanding. Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but a society without the massive hierarchical structures that define our world today.

MammothBlade:
That's a false dichotomy, I'd prefer a society based on mutual respect and understanding. Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but a society without the massive hierarchical structures that define our world today.

Anarchy means chaos. Yes, there's some extremely naive bloggers somewhere in an ivory tower who think differently and fantasise about anarchy being something different, but to the rest of the world, anarchy and chaos are synonyms of eachother.

Don't bother to dispute this unless you can actually prove different and prove people will somehow magically behave when all authority is gone, and obviously those fantasies about 'what it could be' don't count.

Blablahb:

MammothBlade:
That's a false dichotomy, I'd prefer a society based on mutual respect and understanding. Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but a society without the massive hierarchical structures that define our world today.

Anarchy means chaos. Yes, there's some extremely naive bloggers somewhere in an ivory tower who think differently and fantasise about anarchy being something different, but to the rest of the world, anarchy and chaos are synonyms of eachother.

Don't bother to dispute this unless you can actually prove different and prove people will somehow magically behave when all authority is gone, and obviously those fantasies about 'what it could be' don't count.

Stereotyping your opponent does nothing.

People won't magically behave without authority, I am not under that illusion, it requires an altogether different kind of social structure, and a change in mentality. Affirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.

It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

MammothBlade:

Blablahb:

MammothBlade:
That's a false dichotomy, I'd prefer a society based on mutual respect and understanding. Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but a society without the massive hierarchical structures that define our world today.

Anarchy means chaos. Yes, there's some extremely naive bloggers somewhere in an ivory tower who think differently and fantasise about anarchy being something different, but to the rest of the world, anarchy and chaos are synonyms of eachother.

Don't bother to dispute this unless you can actually prove different and prove people will somehow magically behave when all authority is gone, and obviously those fantasies about 'what it could be' don't count.

Stereotyping your opponent does nothing.

People won't magically behave without authority, I am not under that illusion, it requires an altogether different kind of social structure, and a change in mentality. Affirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.

It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

Not sure I understand, but you've certainly got my attention. How exactly does an anarchic society work? The closest I can think of is in some small communities where everyone knows each other and contributes out of a sense of duty, rather than an ulterior motive, but I'm not sure that would work in a city. Then again, is that even what you were talking about? My boss is an anarchist, and I'd love the opportunity to understand him better.

MammothBlade:

Blablahb:

MammothBlade:
That's a false dichotomy, I'd prefer a society based on mutual respect and understanding. Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, but a society without the massive hierarchical structures that define our world today.

Anarchy means chaos. Yes, there's some extremely naive bloggers somewhere in an ivory tower who think differently and fantasise about anarchy being something different, but to the rest of the world, anarchy and chaos are synonyms of eachother.

Don't bother to dispute this unless you can actually prove different and prove people will somehow magically behave when all authority is gone, and obviously those fantasies about 'what it could be' don't count.

Stereotyping your opponent does nothing.

People won't magically behave without authority, I am not under that illusion, it requires an altogether different kind of social structure, and a change in mentality. Affirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.

It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

Hmm reminds me of indie games , and your putting the Illusion that everyone will be active enough to go to every meeting, and decide on everything without completing with each other in some way because of money, and if they were given a set amount of power, and money, but what about decisions, and parties in those companies. One design over another. A inventor who tries to make a company which invents something, but gets voted to drop his project, and loses his investment.

sageoftruth:

MammothBlade:

Blablahb:
Anarchy means chaos. Yes, there's some extremely naive bloggers somewhere in an ivory tower who think differently and fantasise about anarchy being something different, but to the rest of the world, anarchy and chaos are synonyms of eachother.

Don't bother to dispute this unless you can actually prove different and prove people will somehow magically behave when all authority is gone, and obviously those fantasies about 'what it could be' don't count.

Stereotyping your opponent does nothing.

People won't magically behave without authority, I am not under that illusion, it requires an altogether different kind of social structure, and a change in mentality. Affirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.

It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

Not sure I understand, but you've certainly got my attention. How exactly does an anarchic society work? The closest I can think of is in some small communities where everyone knows each other and contributes out of a sense of duty, rather than an ulterior motive, but I'm not sure that would work in a city. Then again, is that even what you were talking about? My boss is an anarchist, and I'd love the opportunity to understand him better.

I've only recently realised how much a lot (but not all) of my views have in common with anarchism, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, but I'd say that's on the right track.

Hmm, maybe ask your boss, there are different types of anarchism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-socialism, etc. I think anarcho-capitalism would probably equate ulterior motives with mutual interest, whereas the latter focuses more on altruism and collective responsibility. Both assuming in their own ways the idea that not only do people not need top-down organisation or authority, but that it is detrimental to their worth as human beings.

I think the problem is cities enforce hierarchy in some ways. They need to be reorganised as communities and not concrete jungles divided into business districts, suburbs, and slums.

Gergar12:

Hmm reminds me of indie games , and your putting the illusion that everyone will be active enough to go to every meeting, and decide on everything without completing with each other in some way because of money, and if they were given a set amount of power, and money, but what about decisions, and parties in those companies. One design over another. A inventor who tries to make a company which invents something, but gets voted to drop his project, and loses his investment.

That's true, then there have to be incentives for a) active participation, and b) mutually agreed goals. There are other ways to do that than use formal authority. There is a place for a competitive mindset, just not exploiting other peoples' labour for an unfair gain. Executive salaries over 10 times more than the lowest paid worker, no need for that.

Good question, companies are a difficult one. On one hand, limited liability companies can be an instrument of exploitation and subordination. On the other, they are a means of organising large groups of people into doing something that simply is not possible with just a small group. I'll have to read a bit more about that, however.

MammothBlade:
ffirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.
It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

Lovely, you warn explicitly "don't respond with fantasies, they don't count", and you get back a fantasy of 'what it could be'...

Blablahb:

MammothBlade:
ffirmation of equal individual worth within a group, of their rights - constitutionally codified, in one of the few cases in which the law benefits the many as opposed to the few; and the de-brutalisation of society. It is the most ethical way in which to arrange society, and with some hard work, it is the best and most mutually beneficial.
It is a dream of an ideal, and it can come to fruition: pessimism towards human nature only makes tyrants and kleptocrats more powerful. Humans do not need gods nor kings nor presidents.

Lovely, you warn explicitly "don't respond with fantasies, they don't count", and you get back a fantasy of 'what it could be'...

Okay, you want proof, this is more than just naive idealism.

http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=803

The American Wild West, Myth Vs. Reality

Dozens of movies have portrayed the nineteenth-century mining camps in the West as hot beds of anarchy and violence, but John Umbeck discovered that, beginning in 1848, the miners began forming contracts with one another to restrain their own behavior (1981, 51). There was no government authority in California at the time, apart from a few military posts. The miners' contracts established property rights in land (and in any gold found on the land) that the miners themselves enforced. Miners who did not accept the rules the majority adopted were free to mine elsewhere or to set up their own contractual arrangements with other miners. The rules that were adopted were often consequently established with unanimous consent (Anderson and Hill 1979, 19). As long as a miner abided by the rules, the other miners defended his rights under the community contract. If he did not abide by the agreed-on rules, his claim would be regarded as "open to any [claim] jumpers" (Umbeck 1981, 53).

The real culture of violence in the American West of the latter half of the nineteenth century sprang from the U.S. government's policies toward the Plains Indians. It is untrue that white European settlers were always at war with Indians, as popular folklore contends. After all, Indians assisted the Pilgrims and celebrated the first Thanksgiving with them; John Smith married Pocahontas; a white man (mostly Scots, with some Cherokee), John Ross, was the chief of the Cherokees of Tennessee and North Carolina; and there was always a great deal of trade with Indians, as opposed to violence. As Jennifer Roback has written, "Europeans generally acknowledged that the Indians retained possessory rights to their lands. More important, the English recognized the advantage of being on friendly terms with the Indians. Trade with the Indians, especially the fur trade, was profitable. War was costly" (1992, 9). Trade and cooperation with the Indians were much more common than conflict and violence during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Terry Anderson and Fred McChesney relate how Thomas Jefferson found that during his time negotiation was the Europeans' predominant means of acquiring land from Indians (1994, 56). By the twentieth century, some $800 million had been paid for Indian lands. These authors also argue that various factors can alter the incentives for trade, as opposed to waging a war of conquest as a means of acquiring land. One of the most important factors is the existence of a standing army, as opposed to militias, which were used in the American West prior to the War Between the States. On this point, Anderson and McChesney quote Adam Smith, who wrote that "'[i]n a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier: in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character.'" (1994, 52). A standing army, according to Anderson and McChesney, "creates a class of professional soldiers whose personal welfare increases with warfare, even if fighting is a negative-sum act for the population as a whole" (52).

MammothBlade:
Okay, you want proof, this is more than just naive idealism.
http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=803

So an extremely biased magazine thinks that a very thinly populated place that was under the control of the US government, and was subject to several hierarchies government-based, religious and social, was in fact an anarchy?

They're wrong obviously. Neither does the fact that people sometimes try to come to arrangements when none exist, mean that anarchy could work.

Also you should check their sources. Most of it is based on political pamphlets. For instance the 'Journal of Libertarian Studies' is the only thing to 'support' the most relevant parts of that text.


But it has to be said this attempt gets you further than the vast majority of people who believe themselves to be anarchists when their claims get challenged.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here