The Delaware Supreme Court reversed a Superior Court decision that fined well-known defense attorney Joseph Hurley $2,000 for talking to the media and arriving late for a court date.
Three members of the high court heard the case. The decision was written by Chief Justice Collins Seitz. Seitz wrote that the lower court erred in not giving Hurley the opportunity to get a hearing on their decision, which was considered criminal contempt. Hurley also argued that the infractions did not rise to the level of criminal contempt.
The comment to the media came in an unidentified high-profile criminal case.
Hurley also argued that the fines did not rise to the level of criminal contempt.
The cases were sent back to Superior Court, which can hold a hearing and show cause for its decision.
“While we sympathize with the Superior Court’s frustration with discourteous conduct and recognize the court’s need to maintain order and respect for its authority, the court’s rules of criminal procedure and Delaware law limit summary criminal contempt citations to conduct in the court’s presence,” Seitz wrote.
Hurley is no stranger to controversy over his conduct. He was earlier reprimanded for remarks. (See below).
Click here for a copy of the most recent ruling.