No negligent contempt

What is an appeal worth? In this case, $100 and the removal of a contempt order.

In a story by the Fulton County Daily Report (may require subscription), an attorney that missed an arraignment was fined $100 for contempt of court by the Henry County State Court Judge. The attorney explained that he had calendared the hearing in one electronic devise that, he later realized, did not synch with the calendar on his phone. The Judge found that the attorney had not willfully missed court, but that his conduct was negligent. The Judge found the attorney in contempt and issued a $100 fine.
The attorney appealed.

“I am worth appealing.” – Ben Franklin

The Court of Appeals held that there was no such thing as “negligent contempt” under Georgia law.  Accordingly, the contempt and the fine were reversed.

One lesson from this is to ensure that your multiple electronic calendar devises are properly synchronized.  Missing court can cause your client, and you, problems in both civil and criminal matters.

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