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Show Respect in Court


If, while facing a judge who literally holds your future in their hands, you think you’d like to show a little sass and let the judge know exactly how you feel about your situation, don’t.  It is never advisable to spout off in court. That’s in spite of what you may hear about Donald Trump’s irreverent behavior in court.

A Look at Trump’s Behavior 

As a defendant in the civil case related to sexual misconduct and defamation against plaintiff E. Jean Carroll, Mr. Trump has not demonstrated a sense of decorum one might expect in a courtroom. U. S. District Judge Kaplan was fed up enough with Mr. Trump’s remarks during Carroll’s testimony that the judge warned he might have Trump removed from the proceedings altogether. The exchange between Kaplan and Trump was notable as the judge warned that while the defendant had every right to be present for his own trial, that right is forfeited if the defendant is too disruptive.  Trump’s chirpy rejoinder was that he would love to be removed (maybe hoping for a basis to appeal?).  When Judge Kaplan observed that the former president was having difficulty controlling himself in the courtroom, Trump responded with exasperation, throwing his hands above his head and quipping, “Neither can you.” The day ended with Mr. Trump still in court, and still misbehaving.

Do Defendants Really get Removed Sometimes? 

Instead of actually removing someone, the judge could find someone in contempt and issue fines and other punishments, such as jail time. What constitutes grounds for removal from the courtroom? Judges often warn disruptive individuals a time or two before actually going through with it, but it does happen.  Actions that could lead to removal include:

  • Verbal abuse including sarcastic or cutting remarks and interruptions;
  • Threats;
  • Physical violence.

Every judge must weigh a defendant’s right to be present at trial against the impact of the defendant’s behavior on others present in the courtroom. When an exclusion occurs after warnings, however, the decision for removal is more likely to be affirmed by appellate courts.

Trump has a Little More Wiggle Room

While it appears to some that Donald Trump is getting more leeway than many other defendants might because of his status as a former U.S. president and likely republican nominee for president in the upcoming election, he may ultimately find himself facing the same kinds of repercussions as anyone else if his behaviors continue through this and other trials.

For the Average Defendant… 

If you think you’ll give these same behaviors a try after watching Trump seemingly get away with sassing a district judge, think again.  Judges are authoritative people who don’t have to put up with such nonsense, and chances are it would get you a contempt charge and some time behind bars, or booted out of court, on top of the consequences associated with your original charges.

Advocating for You 

The experienced Kissimmee criminal defense attorneys at Salazar & Kelly Law Group model the respect and decorum necessary in court, while fighting vigorously for the best outcomes for you.  To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our Kissimmee office today.



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