Spruell v. State

Decision Date14 November 1978
Docket NumberNo. 56775,56775
PartiesSPRUELL v. The STATE.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

William V. Hall, Jr., Decatur, for appellant.

M. Randall Peek, Dist. Atty., J. Wayne Moulton, Decatur, for appellee.

DEEN, Presiding Judge.

When this matter previously appeared before this court, it was remanded for specific findings of fact and conclusions of law. See Spruell v. State, 145 Ga.App. 720, 244 S.E.2d 636 (1978). Attorney Spruell brings this appeal from the trial court's order finding him guilty of contempt and from the denial of his motion to be tried publicly for contempt before any superior court judge other than Judge Clyde W. Henley.

1. "A trial judge may, for a direct criminal contempt committed in the presence of the court, hold the offender in contempt without a hearing and impose punishment, acting on his own knowledge of the facts . . . Brown v. Hames, 131 Ga.App. 148, 205 S.E.2d 716 (1974)." Spruell v. State, supra.

Appellant was representing a defendant in a criminal case and objected to the court's jury charge on entrapment. Mr. Spruell: "The Court has changed the wording of Code Section 26-905 by saying, in part, 'if by entrapment his conduct is induced or solicited by a' and the Court used the word 'law enforcement officer' and the Code says 'government officer or employee, or agent of either.' Now, in this case, of course, the defense of entrapment was asserted and our contentions are that he was entrapped by the agent of the law enforcement officer and not the officer himself." The Court: "All right, sir." Mr. Spruell: "Of course, the acts of the agent is an act of the officer and I would submit under the Court's charge the jury has absolutely no choice except to convict my client and I would submit that the Court's charge has very successfully charged the defense completely out of court and the jury will have no choice whatsoever. It's . . ." The Court: "State your other objection." Mr. Spruell: "Reversion of the law, misrepresentation to the jury by this Court of what the law is because the Court purposely changed the Georgia Statute and I would submit you changed it where it does not fit the facts, but changed it so that it would not fit the facts. Also, in the other part of the Court's charge, you charged the jury that if they should believe the allegations in the indictment and believe that they were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, that they would be authorized to convict him. Well, that's simply not the contentions in this case. The contention is that the Court has to charge in regard to defining the allegations in the indictment. You, also, have to charge in conjunction with that entrapment and that's the State's burden, not to prove the allegations in the indictment but to disprove entrapment." The court then refused Spruell's request to read the statutory definition of entrapment. After a recess, the jury requested clarification of the definition of a crime and of entrapment. The trial judge recharged the jury on entrapment by reading the definition from the Code and redefined "a crime" for them. Mr. Spruell then questioned the court's charge that the date alleged in the indictment was not a material averment to the charge. The court overruled his motion for a recharge and requested that the court reporter read back the original remarks of the attorney in his objection to the court's charge on entrapment. After this statement was read back, the court ruled: "Mr. Spruell, due to your statements in your objections to charge and exceptions, you indicated that the Court purposely and with intention to deprive this defendant of his rights misstated the charge of the law to the jury and for that statement that you made, sir, I find you in contempt of court and I will deal with you after this case is over." At this point, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty for appellant's client. After the jury was excused, the court again addressed the attorney: "Mr. Spruell, throughout the trial of this case from the first day this case came on my calendar through the objections made by you today to the charge you have acted in a contemptuous manner in this entire cause. You've practically accused me on every turn of being prejudiced against your client, when in every instance in November all I tried to do was to protect your client's rights. You have seen fit to publicly accuse me of being making an effort to deprive your client of a fair and impartial trial and I held you in contempt of court for it." Mr. Spruell denied having been knowingly in contempt of court and asked to be given an opportunity to retain counsel and to have a hearing on intent. The court replied that he had already been held in contempt, but agreed to withhold sentence until he could confer with ...

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11 cases
  • Crane, In re
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • January 7, 1985
    ...400 U.S. 455, 91 S.Ct. 499, 27 L.Ed.2d 532 (1971); Daniel, Ga.Crim.Trial Practice (2d ed.) § 27-4, p. 682; Spruell v. State, 148 Ga.App. 99(1), 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978). "Judges should disqualify themselves in proceedings in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including bu......
  • Baptiste v. State
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • November 18, 1997
    ...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 488 (1982); Spruell v. State, 148 Ga.App. 99(1), 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978). " 'Knowingly,' 'knowledge,' 'known,' or 'knows' denotes actual knowledge of the fact in question. A person's knowle......
  • Spruell, In re, A91A0201
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • June 27, 1991
    ...preservation of order and decorum in the Court, etc., is exempt from the due process requirements of notice and hearing. Spruell v. The State, 148 Ga.App. 99 (1978). It is not an abuse of the trial court's discretion in refusing to allow a defendant a hearing under such circumstances. Such ......
  • Shafer, In re, A94A2187
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • March 17, 1995
    ...Garland v. State, 101 Ga.App. 395, 114 S.E.2d 176 (1960); Spruell v. State, 145 Ga.App. 720, 244 S.E.2d 636 (1978); Spruell v. State, 148 Ga.App. 99, 250 S.E.2d 807 (1978); Jordan v. Hodges, 162 Ga.App. 473, 291 S.E.2d 778 The majority holds that a reviewable record of the events cannot be ......
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