Sometimes, people in Florida and elsewhere do things without realizing that their actions could be deemed unlawful. One such case recently led to a judge sending a 39-year-old man to jail for contempt of court. The man has now filed an appeal, claiming his public criticism of a judge was nonviolent and within his First Amendment rights.
Reportedly, the man accused a judge of being unfit to serve and incompetent after a civil suit that he filed was dismissed. The complaint was a claim for $500 million in which the man alleged that the court wasted the time of his friend who was charged with a seat belt violation. After the dismissal of the civil lawsuit, the man wrote the scathing letter and accused the judge of denying him an impartial and free review.
The defendant claims he intended no harm to anyone with his correspondence, and that he was expressing free speech. The letter writer, who chose to handle his own defense, asked the judge whether the correspondence caused any harm. The judge responded that along with his reputation, the accusations caused personal harm and damaged the judicial system.
As a part of six months of probation, this man was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Anyone in Florida who faces similar circumstances of facing charges for nonviolent offenses might be unsure of their legal rights. The sensible step might be to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A lawyer can advocate for the client and work to get get the most favorable outcome for the client.