Addicted to Gag: What gives with these abusive judges?

Isn’t it the job of a competent judge to keep order in the court?

Why resort to abuse?

People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.

– James Baldwin

Lafayette attorney held in contempt of court for filming man’s mouth being taped shut by Ashley White, July 26, 2019, Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Lafayette Judge Marilyn Castle found an attorney in contempt of court for filming a defendant in another case having his mouth taped shut by a bailiff. [Evidence of judicial abuse? I say, Bravo to this attorney for his courageous integral filming! The world needs many more such attorneys!]

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Michael Gregory shows much more integrity and humanity than in this attorney, Glenn Solomon, AER’s outside counsel in Ernst vs Encana, pimping gags so that oil companies can pollute drinking water supplies again and again, down the street:

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Castle, who serves in the Lafayette-based 15th judicial district, ordered public defender Michael Gregory to pay a $100 fine and he cannot bring his cellphone, nor use someone else’s, to the Lafayette Parish courthouse for six months.

Cellphones are banned from courthouses in Louisiana except by officers of the court, which includes attorneys. But filming, broadcasting or photographing inside a courtroom is prohibited.

“This is not a pleasurable thing to do,” Castle said in the Friday hearing. “If I were to ignore it, I would be in violation of the rules.” [Well, dammit, some rules are meant to be broken, notably when a judge behaves this abhorrently!]

Castle ruled Gregory was in constructive contempt rather than direct contempt, which occurs when contempt is committed in “immediate view and presence of the court,” according to state law.

Gregory was in the courtroom July 18 at the same time Michael Duhon was being sentenced for theft of more than $25,000 and money laundering. Duhon repeatedly interrupted the hearing and Castle ordered a bailiff to tape Duhon’s mouth shut, according to court minutes. Gregory filmed the action with his cellphone.

At his contempt hearing, where about two dozen lawyers and supporters filled the courtroom, Gregory argued he was not in contempt because court rules do not explicitly bar attorneys from filming. Castle disagreed.

Lafayette judge Marilyn Castle orders man’s mouth taped to stop interruptions by Ashley White, July 25, 2019, Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Lafayette Judge Marilyn Castle ordered a man’s mouth be taped shut during a sentencing hearing to keep him from interjecting.

Castle, who serves in the Lafayette-based 15th judicial district, on July 18 was presiding over the sentencing for Michael C. Duhon, who had been found guilty of theft over $25,000 and money laundering. A jury found him guilty in February of the 2015 crimes.

During the hearing, Castle told Duhon not to interject the hearing with his own motions, according to court minutes. Duhon was represented in court by Aaron Adams, a Lafayette-based attorney. Castle told Duhon to remain quiet through the rest of the hearing.

State prosecutors introduced evidence during the hearing. Adams did not object, but Duhon did, according to court minutes. Castle reminded Duhon not to interrupt the proceeding and advised him to make objects and arguments through Adams and his defense counsel. [Too often lawyers are not working for their clients, they are instead working to protect the abusive legal system so as to keep ego, career and gravy rolling thickly.]

The court recessed at the request of Adams. When the court returned, state prosecutors continued to question witnesses.

While Tanya Ortego was testifying, Castle ordered a bailiff to tape Duhon’s mouth shut “due to the defendant’s consistent interruption of (the) court proceeding and multiple instructions from the court to remain silent,” according to court minutes.

Adams and the defense counsel objected to Duhon’s mouth being taped shut and asked he be removed from the courtroom instead. Castle had the bailiff remove the tape and ordered Duhon remain silent, court minutes show. It is unclear how long Dunon’s mouth was taped.

Castle reminded Duhon not to speak during the sentencing while state prosecutors were presenting arguments, according to court records.

Duhon was sentenced to serve two concurrent sentences of 15 years of hard labor [No wonder he interjected!] with four years of credit for time served. Restitution was set at $331,500. He also is to be transferred to a facility where he can receive mental health treatment.

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