Trials & Litigation

Judge jails lawyer and client over tardy arrival for jury selection

When a Philadelphia lawyer and his client arrived 50 minutes late for jury selection in a drug case on Monday, a Pennsylvania judge jailed them both.

Holding lawyer B. David Marcial in contempt and upping the bond for his client, Jesus O. Ortiz, from $120,000 to $3 million, Judge Stephen B. Lieberman of Berks County ordered both held in the courthouse cellblock, reports the Reading Eagle.

“We were all here at 9 a.m. for a jury trial and the defense table was empty,” said the judge, who had dismissed the prospects not long before the two arrived. “We wasted a jury panel.”

Four hours later, Lieberman had both brought before him for a hearing. Marcial, who must also pay a $1,000 fine within 60 days or serve 10 days in prison, explained that personal problems kept him up late and then a receptionist at a local hotel failed to give him a wake-up call, the newspaper recounts. He left the courthouse after the hearing but Ortiz was transported to the county jail.

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