Wednesday, July 17, 2013

KYCOA - Lowe - Contempt

Leslie Michael Lowe v. Commonwealth – 12-CA-46 – Rendered 6/21/13, Not to be Published. 

The Court affirmed Mr. Lowe’s conviction and sentence, but reversed the trial court’s contempt finding and remanded for additional proceedings to comport with the due process of law. Mr. Lowe cussed twice on his way out of the courtroom as the jury left to deliberate the sentencing. After the jury returned with a verdict and was dismissed, the trial court found Mr. Lowe in contempt for cussing and sentenced him to six months. The trial court could have immediately found Mr. Lowe in contempt right after he cussed. But due process rights attach when the contempt ruling was delayed. So when there is a break in the proceedings between the cussing and the finding of contempt, it was palpable error for the trial court to not give Mr. Lowe due process rights (an opportunity to be heard). Robert Yang of the Appeals Branch represented Mr. Lowe on appeal.

Contributed by Karen Maurer