Bad Lawyers

Life Imitates Art: Lawyer Sentenced to Punishment Fit for Bart Simpson
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Summary: A Cleveland area judge ordered a lawyer to write out 25 times that he will not engage in conduct

A Cleveland area attorney- who stormed off the defense table in front of a jury-received a Bart Simpson-esque form of punishment when the judge ordered him to write out 25 times that he will not engage in conduct that violates ethics rules.

On Thursday, Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Fuerst found Anthony Baker of Lorain, Ohio, in contempt for his conduct on the final day of an assault trial for his client, a former police officer accused of attacking his wife.

  
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The judge ordered Baker to write 25 times -not on a chalkboard but a piece of paper with pen-in legible handwriting, that he will not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

More specifically, the ‘Bart Simpson of Cleveland’ had to write:

• I will not engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice or in any other conduct that adversely reflects on my fitness to practice law.

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• I shall not engage in conduct intended to disrupt a tribunal or engage in undignified or discourteous conduct that is degrading to a tribunal.

The sentences included citations to specific rules of professional conduct for lawyers.



The Lorain-based attorney was additionally charged with a $500 fine.

Reportedly, Baker was well aware of the consequences, as he said in an interview he came to Thursday’s hearing expecting to serve time in jail, brought no briefcase or laptop and even left his house keys behind.  

She’s right, I was wrong,” Baker said. “I should have not taken that stand. I’m grateful for the penalty that I did get.

However, Baker claimed he stood by his reasoning for what he did.

“I was totally wrong in how I protested. I don’t think I was wrong in what I was fighting for,” the rebellious attorney said.

His client, Denayne Davidson-Dixon was charged with domestic violence and felonious assault after he broke multiple bones in his wife’s face last summer. However, this was not Davidson-Dixon’s first assault. The former police officer was fired from The East Cleveland police and served almost 2 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to assaulting a man he arrested.

According to a copy of the court transcript, at the end of the trial, Baker asked the judge to instruct the jury on Ohio’s self-defense laws before closing arguments and jury deliberations.

The attorney stated that his client’s alleged assault was an act of self-defense after his wife attacked him. Baker argued that denying jurors the ability to hear laws on self-defense when considering the felonious assault would amount to an unfair trial and a certain conviction, the Cleavlend.com reported.

While the judge denied the motion, she agreed to let the jury consider the lesser-included charge of aggravated assault.

Baker, clearly irritated with the judge’s ruling, repeatedly sought to stop the trial and said he “physically” could not continue, suggesting that he would go sit in the back of the courtroom.

The judge denied his request and accused the lawyer of playing games. “This isn’t a game,” he said. “This is his life.”

After the judge ordered Baker to be quiet and more professional, the dramatic attorney — in front of the jury — got up from the defense table during the jury instructions, left his client sitting there and walked into the holding cell where jailed inmates are kept as they await court hearings, according to the transcript.

The judge called Baker in and accused him of throwing a tantrum and acting unprofessionally several times throughout the trial and told him she would be dealing with “a contempt issue” after the trial was over, Cleveland.com reported. 

The jury found Davidson-Dixon guilty of aggravated assault and domestic violence. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the attack.

Baker said the act was meant to protest the judge’s ruling and was an effort to stop the proceeding. However, he said Fuerst has always been a fair judge, and he did deserve punishment because he was out of line. 

“It won’t happen again, that’s for sure,” Baker said.



 

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