Young Lawyer Thrown in Jail For Protecting His Client’s Rights

Michigan attorney, Scott Millard, had been practicing law for less than two months when he ran into Judge Kenneth Post earlier this month. Today, he is a folk-hero for standing up to an overbearing judge while representing his client on a bail application.

Millard’s client was seeking bail having been charged as a minor in possession of alcohol. During the hearing Judge Post asked Mr. Millard’s client when he had last used drugs. Millard believed it was not in his client’s best interests to answer that question and invoked the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution regarding self-incrimination. The following exchange took place next:

Lawyer: I’m his attorney your Honour.

Judge: I’m encouraged.

Judge: I’m not interested in what you think. Haven’t you gotten that yet?

Lawyer: I have gotten that and I…understand that, and your Honour, the Court fully, certainly has the right not to care what I say. How…

Judge: Thank you. Then be quiet.

Judge: When was the last time, the date that you last used controlled substances?

Lawyer: (attempts to interrupt)

Judge: One more word and I’m going to hold you in contempt.

Lawyer: (continues to fight for his client and invokes the Sixth Amendment regarding the right to have counsel)

Judge: (lawyer is cited for contempt and fined $100.)

Lawyer: (again attempts to interject)

Judge: Counsel, I’m holding you in contempt of court. Remand him to the jail.

Mr. Millard spent four hours in jail before his law firm colleagues brought the matter to a senior judge who released him. Judge Post had intended to hold Mr. Millard in jail throughout the weekend. A complaint has been made to the judicial council and Millard is reaping the positive publicity of his polite, but unrelenting attempts to represent his client.

Not surprisingly, fellow members of the bar in Michigan are applauding Millard’s stance and decrying Judge Post’s bullying behavior, for which he is apparently well-known.

For a lawyer who practiced for only two months, Scott Millard’s resolve is extraordinary.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

5 thoughts on “Young Lawyer Thrown in Jail For Protecting His Client’s Rights

  1. Kind of sounds all too familiar, like the lefties (NDP) who shout you down or cause public disturbances, so that reasonable voices cannot be heard, which are not part of the group-think predetermined mantra. Sometimes it takes a nubie to have the courage to say to those too accustomed to having their way, that there are rules, and evidence on a point is actually what is, rather than what lefties claim it is.

  2. The prosecutor would be dumfounded and maybe caught off guard, but not surprised, as the Judge’s reputation went before him. The situation is contextual, as there probably are social problems in the community, and the visual appearance of the accused automatically puts him into the group of problem maker youth dope-head (bias). In addition, that prosecutor would be appearing in front of the same Judge day after day, and they would also socialize in the back rooms of the Court House in non-court time, so the professional distance would be lost between prosecutor and Judge, just like it happens in BC Provincial Courts all over this Province, so it would be harder to intervene. The case must be understood in context, and fits a larger pattern of presumption and bias from everyone in the Courtroom who would see those kinds of cases on a regular basis. Most often those kind of cases are unrepresented, and the accused may decide not to wait for a lawyer, and or, has no means to hire one, and a duty counsel may not be available at that Court House, and legal aid on these matters may not be available in any event. So the Judge proceeds to be prosecutor, defense lawyer and judge (all three at once) from the bench. It happens often in BC Provincial Courts in outlying communities, however most Judges in BC are quite sympathetic to the accused in those situations, and do not abuse their opportunity to go too far in expedient Court Room processes. It is another good reason why we do not elect Judges in Canada.

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