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Las Vegas Judge Places Attorney in Handcuffs
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Hafen and Bakhtary

Summary: A Las Vegas judge had a defense attorney placed in handcuffs and placed next to inmates in court for unprofessional behavior.

A Las Vegas judge wanted to teach an attorney a lesson in courtroom etiquette. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen had asked Clark County Deputy Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary to “be quiet” but she kept interrupting him. When she failed to follow his rules, he ordered a marshal to place her in handcuffs. She was seated next to the other inmates in the jury box.


Bakhtary was defending her client, who violated his parole, to keep him from serving a six-month sentence. To her credit, courtroom transcripts show that Hafen was actually the one to interrupt her. Hafen is more concerned with the “proper decorum” in courtroom etiquette to not talk over or interrupt in court regardless of who was speaking first.

Read Judge Suspended for Intoxication and Public Urination.

Hafen continued to explain to the Review-Journal that she had exhibited “a progression” of unprofessional behavior and he had been “trying to work with her.” Since joining the public defender’s office three years ago, Bakhtary has been working in his courtroom about once a week. She claims she has never acted unprofessionally and called his actions “extremely offensive.”

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See 2 Judges Censured for Having Sex in Their Chambers.

Judges have the power to restrain a person acting out of line in court but rarely do they do so to an attorney advocating for their client. Clark Country chief public defender Phil Kohn adamantly defends his attorney’s conduct. He states Hafen was unprofessional for using Bakhtary’s first name in the courtroom saying, “I believe in decorum. All parties should respect each other. It should be ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.’ or ‘Your Honor.” The fact that he’s talking to her as ‘Zohra’ – this is kindergarten stuff.”

Do you think Judge Hafen acted out of line? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about over-zealous judges, read Judge Tells Defendant That His Death Would Be a Favor to Society.

Hafen Photo:

Bakhtary Photo:


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