A district judge has ruled that a Lafayette public defender was in contempt of court when he filmed the same judge ordering a defendant’s mouth to be shut with duct tape last week.
On Friday, 15th Judicial District Court Judge Marilyn Castle ruled that Michael Gregory was in contempt of court when on July 18 he used his cell phone to film Castle ordering Michael Duhon's mouth shut after he repeatedly interrupted proceedings in Judge Castle's courtroom.
The judge ordered that Gregory is prevented from bringing his cell phone or any other electronic devices to court for six months and pay a $100 fine.
Before issuing her ruling, read from the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct, which states, “Except as herein provided a judge shall prohibit broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and areas immediately adjacent thereto during sessions of court or recesses between sessions.”
The judge added that she was mandated by the Supreme Court to follow the local rules of the 15th Judicial District, which grants officers of the court the privilege of carrying their cell phones with them into the courtroom as long as they follow those rules.
“This is not a pleasurable thing to do, but I am mandated by the Supreme Court to uphold its rules,” Castle said. After her ruling, she added that she had “no hard feelings” toward Gregory.
Gregory, who was representing himself, had filed a motion to continue Friday’s hearing until he could secure his own counsel. However, the judge denied that motion saying that he already had more than a week to secure counsel and that the hearing was only delayed from the day of the incident in fairness to him.
Gregory had also filed a motion to have the judge recuse herself, so that he could call her as a witness. She denied that motion as well claiming that in a contempt of court hearing the judge is always a witness.
Two other witnesses who were present in court during the July 18 incident, Robert Odinet and Marie Young, also testified briefly about seeing Gregory pull out his phone and record when Castle ordered Duhon to be gagged.
Gregory was not representing Duhon during that proceeding.
Gregory was ordered to delete all copies of the video after the incident, however he submitted a copy of the video into evidence, which Castle admitted under seal.
After the judge’s ruling, Gregory said he intends to appeal the decision.