Lawyer Jailed for Advising Client to Assert 5th Amendment Right
Michigan attorney Scott Millard, 29, was held in contempt of court and jailed Dec. 1 for instructing his client to "take the 5th" and refuse to answer a judge's question at his arraignment and bond hearing. The judge had asked the client when was the last time he had taken drugs. Millard was released four hours later when a higher court granted a stay.
The transcript is here.
If Judge Post is found to be in violation of the law - which many attorneys and former judges who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 believe he is - he could face anything from censure to removal from the bench.
From the court's website:
The amount of the bond is determined by the degree of risk a defendant poses to his/her victim or society and the likelihood of the defendant appearing for future court appearances. Defendants posing high risk in these areas may have a higher bond set. In many cases, a District Court Probation Officer will conduct an investigation, called bond screening, into the defendant’s history of prior criminal acts, violent nature, employment, family connections, and substance abuse issues. The findings of this investigation are reported to the judge or magistrate prior to setting the bond to help determine the defendant’s inclination to commit further violent acts or evade further court proceedings.
The Michigan Constitution, Article I, Section 17:
Self-incrimination; due process of law; fair treatment at investigations.
No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. The right of all individuals, firms, corporations and voluntary associations to fair and just treatment in the course of legislative and executive investigations and hearings shall not be infringed.
Bail; fines; punishments; detention of witnesses.
Sec. 16. Excessive bail shall not be required; excessive fines shall not be imposed; cruel or unusual punishment shall not be inflicted; nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained
Another policy of this judge, at least as of 2008: Even though state law allows minors in possession of alcohol to enter a diversion program for a first offense (where classes or treatment is required), he doesn't allow it. He insists on a guilty plea which leaves the kid with a criminal conviction on his record.
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