Constitutional Law

Judge Jails 2 Attorneys for Contempt in 4 Days

It may not be a good time for Georgia practitioners to try the patience of Matthew Simmons, the chief judge of Clayton County Superior Court.

Within two business days he has jailed two lawyers for contempt in unrelated cases, according to a Daily Report article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

Tax attorney Francis X. “Frank” Moore got the stiffer sentence when Simmons sent him to jail Friday for 20 days for failing to return to a May court hearing after a recess. The judge, who denied bond on that count, also sentenced the Atlanta lawyer to serve up to 20 days, concurrently, for failing to post $80,000 bond concerning an attorney fee award.

Then, when another court-appointed lawyer showed up Monday intentionally unprepared for her client’s murder trial because she hadn’t been paid in full, Simmons lowered the boom again. He sentenced Loletha Denise Hale of Jonesboro to up to 10 days, the Daily Report recounts, and removed her as counsel in the case, substituting a public defender.

At last report, Moore was still being held at the Clayton County jail, but Hale’s name wasn’t listed on the jail log yesterday. Neither Hale nor Moore’s lawyer returned the legal publication’s phone calls.

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