LAFAYETTE, La. – A Louisiana attorney was found in contempt of court for filming a defendant in another case having his mouth taped shut by a bailiff.
Lafayette Judge Marilyn Castle ordered public defender Michael Gregory to pay a $100 fine and said 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."
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.
Gregory said he would appeal the ruling.
The content of the video was not discussed in the hearing.
Gregory said he felt there was “a compelling necessity to record the proceeding,” but Castle said the focus was on the inappropriate filming itself, not what the recording captured.
“The subject of what was photographed is irrelevant. It’s that you did it,” Castle said.
Gregory submitted a copy of the video as evidence and Castle put it under seal, making it unavailable to the public.
Contributing: The Associated Press; follow Ashley White on Twitter: @AshleyyDi
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Defendant duct-taped: Attorney held in contempt for filming it in court