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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Judge agrees not to sanction RI workers’ compensation lawyer

Today's post is shared from
A Workers Compensation Court judge agreed Wednesday not to cite   lawyer Stephen J. Dennis with criminal contempt for interrupting her on  Sept. 3.
Dennis spent an hour in a courthouse cell that day, after Associate Judge Janette A. Bertness had him handcuffed and removed from her courtroom. Saying that Dennis was in contempt, Bertness ordered him to  sit in the cell for an hour “to figure out what it means to respect the court,” according to a court transcript.
Amato A. DeLuca, Dennis’s lawyer, appealed to Bertness, saying that a criminal contempt citation would likely harm Dennis’s reputation and potentially affect his ability to practice.
DeLuca said Dennis “was very anxious” as he tried to explain to Bertness why he had failed to appear as scheduled at 10 a.m. that day to represent a client.
Bertness said she would vacate the criminal contempt citation, but noted that she had had “some problems” with Dennis’s explanation of why he was late to court, and that his failure to appear and show up on time “is awful – that’s just terrible” for the client.
She also noted that Dennis “had interrupted eight times.”
Dennis also apologized.
“I did not intent to challenge your authority. I did not mean to …” Dennis said. “I did make a mistake but that was unintentional.” He added, “I think that what we do is good, and honorable...
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