How did the Casey Anthony judge adjudicate interrupters guilty of criminal contempt of court

without allowing them to consult an attorney or a right to trial by jury?
Is there a special procedure for criminal contempt that mandates waiver of those two rights?

Could that defendant or the other one have asserted her right to counsel or a trial by jury during the phrase in which the judge asked whether the defendant has anything to say as to why she should not be held in contempt?

I am not exactly familiar wth Florida procedure. But I will say this, Contempt of Court is one area where modern Courts have powers like the Star Chamber. Or the Spanish Inquisition.

She has the right to trial and the right to appeal. Her problem is that her sentence is two days in jail. The trial and appeal will take longer than two days. If she appeals, all she can do is overturn the conviction. The two days will forever be lost.

Can we get a link to an article (as opposed to having to watch a 10-minute video)? It might help establish some context.

Courts have inherent power to punish contumacious behavior.

Contempt comes in two flavors: direct and indirect. When a court issues an order to do something, like stop demolishing your garden shed, and you fail to heed the order, that’s indirect. When the judge is in a position to watch the behavoir directly, that’s direct contempt.

Direct contempt may be punished directly, with no jury trial.

There’s not much to know. Basically some people in the court room (at separate times) interrupted proceedings by shouting some things. The judge said they were in contempt and gave them some jail time right there on the spot. The end.

Right after asking Mrs. Rogers her first name and date of birth, the Judge asked her if she “could show cause to the court why she should not be held in contempt of court”.

Could she have requested a lawyer or tril at that time?

While she wasn’t Mirandised (question below), she did attempt to offer an explanation of sorts directly to the court, and it didn’t appear to have been cooerced. It seems she waived her rights to silence, self incrimination, and so on, more or less. (I doubt she put much thought into her actions before or after her outburst.)

Mrs. Rogers was detained by the court police/bailiffs for 15 minutes before the Judge called her back in. Are they required to Mirandise?

Let’s say I want to contest a charge of contempt. I am in the spectator area, a guy next to me throws a wad of paper at the defendant’s table. The Judge mistakenly believes I threw it. The actual miscreant leaves the area in the commotion, I don’t know his name.

How do I procede?

The best way generally to proceed with contempt allegations, is to give an unqualified apology and ask for the mercy of the Court, which will almost always be granted.

In your case, you will simply advise the judge of that fact, the fact that you did not throw it.

The purpose of the power of contempt is less to punish, rather to give a Court the power to get it’s Orders enforced.

I could tell him I didn’t throw it, but as I said, maybe he believes I did. I could beg mercy, but I may end up having to pay a fine (or a couple days in jail) for something I didn’t do, based on the mistaken belief of (only) the judge.

In the case of the OP, the Judge was correct in knowing who actually made the remarks from the spectator area. In the OP’s case, Mrs. Rogers did not deny it, so the issue is somewhat moot, for her. I understood the OP’s question to be about Mrs. Rogers right to be tried by her peers, and not solely by the Judge.

I can only speak regarding the Anthony trial.

The spectators were all given very clear rules as to what would and not be allowed in the courtroom. I remember only one specifically, and that was “no sleeping.” It seems to me there was something about electronic devices (not counting reporters), but I don’t remember that for sure.

Whether they had to sign anything before being allowed entrance, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

But if the judge didn’t see it (either with his own eyes, or on video) then it was not DIRECT criminal contempt, and the judge can’t immediately punish you for it. He could, instead, clear the gallery to prevent any disruptions at all.

In Florida, besides direct and indirect contempt, there is also civil and criminal contempt. You can use criminal contempt to punish (I.e a fine, or a night in jail) so there must be a finding of mens rea (intent to do the act). Direct criminal contempt is established on the record by the judge’s own findings. Indirect criminal contempt would require an evidentiary hearing (with notice and an opportunity to be heard)- these are due process rights, which are only abrogated by the judge’s direct observations, if for no other reason than a judge needs the power to punish someone who tells him to go fuck himself.

Civil contempt, by the way, can be brought by the judge or another party for refusing to follow a court order. In that instance, the punishment is a fine, which you must be able to afford, until you comply with the order. If you refuse to pay, then the judge can put you in jail. Therr must first be a finding on the record of evidence of your ability to pay. This usually comes up in child support delinquency situations.

A Miranda warning is required before interrogation, when the authorities are going to question you to try to determine who did the crime.

When the crime was done right there in open court, in front of the Judge, Jury, & prosecuting attorney, there isn’t any interrogation needed to determine who did it.

A Miranda warning is required before interrogation, when the authorities are going to question you to try to determine who did the crime.

When the crime was done right there in open court, in front of the Judge, Jury, & prosecuting attorney, there isn’t any interrogation needed to determine who did it.


I think the question is whether or not someone has a right to representation during the contempt proceeding. Though it took place fifteen minutes after the act, and though it only took five minutes to conduct, she did have the opportunity to speak to the judge. For those five minutes, does she have a right to counsel?

Further, if she said something incriminating (e.g. I take meds and I also smoked marijuana to calm down) could that be held against her? The bailiffs had her in custody (I’m assuming she wasn’t free to leave after being escorted out), which IIRC is the tipping point, not whether an ‘investigation’ is underway.

Oh, also, didn’t the judge say that others were/could be sentenced to 120 days? I don’t recall if the right to counsel extended to misdemeanors–120 days falls well short of model felonies, correct?