JERMAINE HARDY v. SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF FAIRFIELD AT G.A. 2, SC 18527
Judicial District of Fairfield at G.A. 2
Writ of Error; Summary Criminal Contempt; Whether the Trial Court Violated the Plaintiff in Error’s Due Process Rights by Finding him Guilty of Summary Criminal Contempt Without Affording him Notice of the Charge and an Opportunity to be Heard. In 2009, the plaintiff in error, Jermaine Hardy, attended a pretrial proceeding in connection with two criminal files that were pending against him. Towards the end of the proceeding, Hardy became upset with his attorney, stating: “You ain’t telling me nothing.” The trial court ordered him to leave the courtroom, and, as a judicial marshal escorted him to the exit, he expressed his displeasure with the manner in which the marshal was handling him. The court then ordered the marshal to bring Hardy back before the court, at which time Hardy told the marshal not to push him. After Hardy failed to heed the marshal’s warning to stop talking, the court found him guilty of summary criminal contempt, stating: “Normally I would allow a chance for your attorney to talk to you. However, based on your continued conduct, I’m going to find you in contempt. . . . You have prevented the orderly processes of this court.” The court sentenced Hardy to sixty days of incarceration, and, in response, Hardy used profanity to express his unhappiness with the sentence and with the marshal’s conduct. The court consequently vacated the sixty day sentence and instead sentenced Hardy to 120 days of incarceration. On appeal, Hardy argues that the trial court violated his state and federal due process rights by failing to comply with the requirements of Practice Book § 1-16, which provides, in part, that “[p]rior to any finding of guilt, the judicial authority shall inform the defendant of the charges against him or her and inquire as to whether the defendant has any cause to show why he or she should not be adjudged guilty of summary criminal contempt by presenting evidence of acquitting or mitigating circumstances.” He maintains that, in violation of the rule, the court found him guilty of summary criminal contempt without affording him notice of the charge and an opportunity to be heard.