One of great things about our country is that every person is guaranteed a right to a fair and just trial. Is this the direction that our current court system is going in? Is putting lawyers in jail for contempt of court the correct way to go about this?
We bring up this question because of the recent sentencing of Austin lawyer Adam Reposa for contempt during a drunk driving trial. To give some background on the story, Reposa was sentenced to six months in an Austin jail after he had a disagreement with a judge during a trial. After the disagreement Reposa posted two videos on YouTube in which he mocked local judges. This incident was taken into account during his trial for contempt.
We’ve seen many incidents where employees have been held to task for inappropriate social media posts, but Reposa’s case is a little different. Reposa was convicted for posting a criticism of a judge, something directly related to his occupation as an Austin lawyer and, more importantly, the kind of free speech that has always been sacred in our nation. If a citizen and legal expert can’t be protected when criticizing a judge, then what happens to an average citizen with a picket sign? We also question the extremity of the sentence, which will have a severe and material effect on Reposa’s life and productivity.
This leads us to our previous question which regards lawyers being sent to jail. If attorneys continue to be convicted of contempt of court, the justice system in our nation may be brutally damaged. It would seem logical that lawyers should not be sentenced to jail time while they are defending someone else. If judges can easily put away pesky lawyers, they will have much more authority to act with impunity. Where will court rulings like this lead our nation? This question may be up for debate for some time, but what is certain is that justice and fair trials should always prevail in our country.