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Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!

stantz.jpgIn an attempt to stave off such mass hysteria, a North Carolina judge just gave a serious legal bitchslap to one of the attorneys appearing before him. Local attorney Raymond Marshall has a client who’s facing an assault charge. The case had already gone to trial twice, but mistrials were declared in both instances because of hung juries. So last month, proceedings began for a third trial, before Superior Court Judge Michael Helms. Right from the start, things were apparently not so great between Helms and Marshall and on September 29, Marshall filed a motion seeking to have Helms disqualified as the sitting judge, alleging that Helms was being intimidating.

That motion didn’t put one in the win column for Marshall, because when the trial started on October 4 Helms was still the sitting judge. On that opening day, Marshall was questioning a witness when Helms stopped him. In response to this:

Marshall said “Lord,” reared back in his chair with outstretched arms, cast his eyes upward and turned to the audience, Helms said.

So Helms smacked Marshall with a contempt of court charge. That charge was heard last Thursday, and Marshall got bitchslapped but good: two days in the clink, thirty day suspension of license, court-ordered submission to a psychologist’s exam and seventy hours of community service (if Marshall completes this in less than 30 days, he may get his license back ahead of schedule). Helms said that he put such a hefty price on Marshall’s behavior to emphasize the fact that lawyers have to show respect. If they fail to do so, then their clients won’t bother respecting the court “and then we have anarchy.”

Marshall, meanwhile, can’t seem to get his story straight. As reported in one article, he claimed that he was simply beginning to say a prayer (he’s a minister) because “there are times when you feel you need strength and my strength comes from God.” However, in another article, Marshall is reported as having said he was stressed because this was the third trial of this matter and it was probably the stress that led to the remark.

In a related story, the North Carolina legislature voted down, by a narrow margin, a bill that would have legalized dog/cat cohabitation. Anarchy and mass hysteria are staved off for yet another day!