Trials & Litigation

Tough Judge Who Intended to Give Witness Contempt Time for Causing Mistrial Relents After Testimony


Angry over a February courtroom outburst by a witness that caused a mistrial in a murder case, a Florida judge had told Raynaldo Carrillo, the 46-year-old brother of the slain man, to come back for a contempt hearing in April prepared to serve up to six months in jail.

But after Carrillo remorsefully testified Friday about the incident, and a prosecutor blamed himself for not doing more to prepare him as a witness after deciding at the last minute to put him on the stand, Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente instead sentenced him to five months of probation and 150 hours of community service, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

“It was really my intention to incarcerate you,” the judge told Carrillo. In addition to Carrillo’s apology, the judge said he was swayed by his military service and family obligations to a 9-year-old daughter after a recent divorce.

Carrillo also reimbursed the state over $1,000 for the cost of flying an out-of-state witness to the February trial.

An earlier Tampa Bay Times article describes Carrillo’s outburst.

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