We’ve posted a few blogs about ways facebook, your phone , and emails , might not be as private as you think. Today we get one more example to prove our case. A Macomb County Juror was removed from jury duty after an attorney uncovered one of her facebook posts. Read the full story here
The defense attorney’s son found the post while checking juror’s names on the internet.
The juror had posted a status stating the defendant was guilty, BEFORE the trial had ended. The juror may now face contempt of court charges and possible jail time.
There’s an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press today about a woman in Oakland County who’s being jailed for 24 hours because she was late for jury duty. As a stay at home mom she had an issue finding child care for her two young children. When she showed up late to court Judge Leo Bowman found her in contempt, ordered her to sit as a spectator for the two-week long murder trial and imposed a 24 hour jail sentence when the trial finished. For the whole story click here
Our legal system is based on the idea that everyone has the right to tell their side of the story in front of 12 unbiased every day citizens. Do you agree? And do you think your civic duty to the legal system should come first even though it may be an inconvenience to your everyday life?
Here is some basic info on what contempt of court is:
Contempt of Court
Contempt is the power of the court to force someone to do something, make them stop doing something, or punish someone for violating a court order.
Contempt is can be either civil or criminal:
·Civil contempt is used to get someone to comply with a court order or to compensate someone for damages caused by disobeying a court order.
oIf found in civil contempt, a person can be fined up to $7,500, be ordered to pay other costs and damages, or be jailed until they comply with the court’s order.
·Criminal contempt is used to punishment someone for disobeying a court’s order.
oIf found in criminal contempt, a person can be fined up to $7,500, be ordered to pay other costs and damages, or be jailed for up to 93 days.
Normally, a hearing must be held to determine if the contempt occurred. But if the contempt occurred in the immediate view of the court (in the court room, during court proceedings) the judge is allowed to use summary proceedings. This means the judge can hold someone in contempt and punish them without a full hearing.
Remember: You have the right to an attorney if you are charged with contempt!
You have the right to have notice of the charges against you, an opportunity to present a defense or explanation, and the right to have an attorney assist you in the process.
Common situations where courts exercise their power of contempt:
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Holly Valente is PR Director of Ambrose Law group. She is assisted in blog posts by the extremely knowledgeable and expert lawyers she works with. It is our hope you will use this blog as a legal reference as well as source of entertainment and a forum for open discussion. Any media inquiries can be directed to Holly at Holly@ambroselawgroup.com