Dowdy v. Palmour

Citation304 S.E.2d 52,251 Ga. 135
Decision Date16 June 1983
Docket NumberNo. 39560,39560
PartiesDOWDY et al. v. PALMOUR.
CourtSupreme Court of Georgia

Page 52

304 S.E.2d 52
251 Ga. 135
DOWDY et al.
No. 39560.
Supreme Court of Georgia.
June 16, 1983.

[251 Ga. 143] Andrew Dowdy, pro se.

Douglas W. McDonald, Cornelia, for Andrew Dowdy et al.

Bruce L. Udolf, Dist. Atty., Gainesville, for Judge James E. Palmour, III.

[251 Ga. 135] HILL, Chief Justice.

Andrew Dowdy and Douglas W. McDonald, attorneys, were held in contempt of court. Dowdy and McDonald represented a client in a probation revocation hearing before Judge James E. Palmour, III. The probationer was charged with having violated the conditions of his probation by possessing cocaine. When the state called its first witness, Dowdy asked for the rule of sequestration. The judge said: "All right. Call all witnesses around." The assistant district attorney [251 Ga. 136] called two additional witnesses who were sworn and sent outside the courtroom.

When the state offered two photographs of a vehicle reported to police as having been stolen and in which cocaine was found, the following transpired:

"COURT: Any objections?

Page 53

"DOWDY: Same objections as in our motion to suppress. All of this information is hearsay, unless they have an owner here to testify and identify the car.

"COURT: With the state of the record, your motion is overruled. I don't think you understand--I think you have lost sight of the concept of revocation as opposed to conviction of a person of a criminal offense. I'm not going to try the car stealing case. Let's get on with the issue at hand.

"DOWDY: Judge, may I enter one more objection? The second objection is that this car is the fruit of an illegal search, in our opinion, since there was time to get a search warrant.

"COURT: I can take that out in a flash. You're wrong. You want some citations, or has Mr. McDonald got that big fat book that he always carries around.

"DOWDY: We have our citations and we'll stand on them.

"COURT: What are yours?

"McDONALD: Give him those citations.

"COURT: What are yours? You read yours, Mr. McDonald. (Pause) Have you got any? (Pause) Mr. McDonald, if you would, I'm addressing you. If you would stand and please respond to me, I would appreciate it. (Pause) Has he lost his voice, Mr. Dowdy?

"DOWDY: No, sir, Your Honor.

"COURT: Mr. McDonald, would you respond?

"McDONALD: I asked Mr. Dowdy to give the court a copy of the brief, Your Honor.

"COURT: I asked you to respond, Mr. McDonald.

"McDONALD: Our citations of authority are set forth in the brief, Your Honor.

"COURT: Thank you.

"McDONALD: We would very much appreciate Your Honor's citations of authority, and if we are wrong, we will certainly admit that we are wrong to the court and to the district attorney, but we would appreciate the benefit of Your Honor's citations too, because we don't like to ever cite any improper authority to the court, and if so, we will certainly correct our brief.

"COURT: Does that need a response, Mr. McDonald, from me, that you don't like to cite authority that is no good?

"McDONALD: I've said all I wish to say, Your Honor.

[251 Ga. 137] "COURT: I've said all I wish to say, Mr. McDonald. I'll accept your authority and I'll overrule your motion. There are two cases that just came out recently, that you might want to read, but I'm not going to tell you what they are.

"For the record, the reason I'm not going to tell you what they are, I rarely get any from you. I think turnabout is fair play. If I have to hunt them, I guess you had better hunt them."

When the defense called its first witness and began direct examination, the following occurred:

"ADA: Has this witness been in the courtroom?

"DOWDY: I got him out of the grand jury room.

"ADA: I think he was sitting over here in the courtroom.

"COURT: I don't know.

"THIRD PERSON: He was sitting on this first row right here.

"COURT: Go ahead."

The questioning then resumed.

When the probationer's first witness was excused, the following transpired:

"COURT: Call your next witness.

"DOWDY: Call Bryant Johnson.

"COURT: Now, Mr. Johnson is coming out of the audience. Mr. Dowdy, let's talk about this. You insisted on the rule, and he's been sitting in here, and, apparently, this other gentleman has been sitting in here.

"DOWDY: Yes, sir. I insisted on the rule as to the state's witnesses. The state made no statement as to any witnesses for the defendant.

Page 54

"COURT: Mr. Dowdy, I'll go ahead and let them testify, but I'm not playing games. I'm going to deal with you and Mr. McDonald when we get through with this case, both of you.

"DOWDY: I'm not intending to play games with the court, Your Honor.

"COURT: I consider it very serious, Mr. Dowdy. Bring him on up. I'll deal with it. It looks like you gentlemen have forgot our last little confrontation.

"McDONALD: What confrontation is that, Your Honor? Or shall we deal with this later?

"COURT: I'll deal with it later. I'm glad to see, sir, that I did get you to stand up. I appreciate it.

"McDONALD: Yes, sir, you provoke me, sometimes, to have to stand, Judge. I want to make sure that the record doesn't go silent when a response is perhaps required.

"COURT: I'll be glad to discuss it with you after this is over."

[251 Ga. 138] At the conclusion of the revocation hearing, the following transpired:

"COURT: Mr. McDonald and Mr. Dowdy, if you would, please stand.

"Gentlemen, during the progress of this matter--at the outset of the matter, the rule was invoked--Mr. McDonald, if I could have each of you--each one of you, your undivided attention, it would be appreciated.

"McDONALD: Yes, sir, I'm standing, Your Honor.

"COURT: The rule was invoked. I asked that all witnesses come around and be sworn. Both of you, apparently, didn't think that applied to the defendant's witnesses, and the defendant's witnesses were allowed by defense counsel to remain in the courtroom, the court not knowing who the witnesses were. Additionally, to you, Mr. McDonald, at the time, I asked you a question. You sat in your chair. When the court addressed to you, you did not stand up. You did not respond when requested by the court to do so, and as a matter of fact, in so doing, Mr. McDonald, I want the record to be perfectly clear, that your expression clearly indicated to the court that you were ignoring this court.

"Now, this court deems that this is a direct contempt of this court and will deal with each of you attorneys right now. The acts complained of are that each of you misbehaved as officers of the court, in your official capacity as an officer of the court, after the court--or you, Mr. Dowdy, asked that the witnesses be sequestered, and then both of you, as attorneys for the defendant, allowed the witnesses to remain in the courtroom, especially after the court said 'let all witnesses come around and be sworn'.

"This was in disobedience to a lawful order, or a command, if you want to call it that, of the court, which tended to obstruct the administration of justice. It was also the disobedience of a lawful order of the court.

"To you, Mr. McDonald, I have already said that you sat in your chair when asked a question by the court.

"The court is going to rule that these were contemptuous and insulting acts in the immediate view and presence of the court, which tended to obstruct the orderly administration and proceedings of the court and to impair the respect due the court and its authority.

"Gentlemen, I'm going to tell you something. I'm going to hold you in willful contempt of court but I'm going to impose no sanctions for this contempt, but I'm going to admonish both of you, each of you, to read the rules of this court, to respond to all requests and questions made by the court as gentlemen and also as officers of the court.

"Now, directing your attention to the prior confrontation that [251 Ga. 139] you wanted mentioned, Mr. McDonald, you and I had a confrontation in a murder case in Lumpkin County, and we had one in Dawsonville. In Dawsonville, if my memory serves me correct, I asked you for a citation and you failed to give it to me. The record will reveal whatever that confrontation was. That ends the matter. You gentlemen are

Page 55

now warned. If you would like a copy of the transcript, I would be glad to supply it to you. I'm going to have it transcribed and I will keep it in the file, and henceforth, I expect you to abide by the requests, the orders and rulings of the court.

"McDONALD: May it please the court--


To continue reading

Request your trial
57 cases
  • Crane, In re, 41234
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • January 7, 1985
    ...controversy, it was held that due process required that the attorney's contempt hearing be conducted by another judge. Dowdy v. Palmour, 251 Ga. 135, 304 S.E.2d 52 (1983). "The Federal Constitution, which is of course binding on the states, thus provides a minimum standard, but the state ma......
  • Baptiste v. State
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • November 18, 1997
    ...Mayberry v. Pennsylvania, 400 U.S. 455, 91 S.Ct. 499, 27 L.Ed.2d 532 (1971); In re Crane, supra at 668, 324 S.E.2d 443; Dowdy v. Palmour, 251 Ga. 135, 304 S.E.2d 52 (1983); Williams v. State, 250 Ga. 664, 665(2), 300 S.E.2d 685 (1983); Jarrard v. State, 163 Ga.App. 99, 101(3), 292 S.E.2d 48......
  • HAMILTON CAPTIAL GROUP v. Equifax, No. A03A1676
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 2, 2004
    ...of consumers who met that criteria. This is referred to as "prescreening" potential credit customers. 3. But see Dowdy v. Palmour, 251 Ga. 135, 141(1), 304 S.E.2d 52 (1983), in which the Supreme Court declined to address the issue of whether a finding of contempt without the imposition of p......
  • In re Johnson
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • June 30, 2022
    ...attack, that the contempt ruling was made without due process, is supported by longstanding precedents.Decades ago, in Dowdy v. Palmour , 251 Ga. 135, 304 S.E.2d 52 (1983), the Supreme Court of Georgia recited that "a trial judge has the power, when necessary to maintain order in the courtr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT