Judge Jails Attorney for 'Acting Like I'm Some Kind of Idiot'

By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Rolling your eyes should not be contempt of court.

Throwing your hands in the air shouldn't do it either.

Acting like the judge is some kind of idiot, however, is probably asking for it. But whatever you do, don't do all of them all together.

Surely in Contempt

It was a serious case: the defendant was accused of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Judge David Borowski told assistant public defender Puck Tsai to sit down during a pre-trial hearing, but he remained standing.

"Is there something you want to say," Borowski asked. "Or do you want to go into custody?"

Tsai stood there undaunted and said his client was innocent at that stage of the case.

"No kidding, I get that," the judge replied. "Rolling your eyes, throwing your hands in the air, acting like I'm some kind of idiot gets you locked up for contempt."

Handcuffed and Belly-Chained

It was probably the standing-after-being-told-to-sit that set off the judge. Borowski had the lawyer handcuffed and belly-chained.

Public defender supervisors talked him down, and brought the banished attorney back into the courtroom. Tsai apologized, and the judge relented -- barely.

He chalked it up to a bad day. But it wasn't his first.

According to reports, Borowski has held lawyers and litigants in contempt before. The Journal Sentinel said he is quick to punish "perceived lawyer misconduct, or ethical or etiquette lapses."

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