Williams v. State, 91-2787

Decision Date27 May 1992
Docket NumberNo. 91-2787,91-2787
Citation599 So.2d 255
PartiesLester WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. 599 So.2d 255, 17 Fla. L. Week. D1386
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Louis O. Frost, Jr., Public Defender, James T. Miller, Asst. Public Defender, Jacksonville, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Bradley R. Bischoff, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, for appellee.

SMITH, Judge.

Appellant challenges his judgment and sentence for indirect criminal contempt for violation of an injunction. He also challenges two judgments and sentences for direct criminal contempt for two profane comments directed at the trial court after he had been sentenced for the indirect contempt. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

The state concedes the judgment and sentence entered for appellant's violation of an injunction must be reversed because appellant was required to represent himself against his wishes following the withdrawal of the public defender. Without further discussion, we reverse the judgment of conviction for violation of the injunction, vacate the sentence, and remand.

As for the judgments of direct criminal contempt, we hold the trial court erred in finding appellant guilty of two instances of contempt rather than one. In Butler v. State, 330 So.2d 244, 245 (Fla. 2d DCA), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 863, 97 S.Ct. 168, 50 L.Ed.2d 142 (1976), the court held that only a single adjudication of contempt is appropriate when multiple contumacious comments can be viewed as a "single outburst." See also, Duff v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co., 386 So.2d 253 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), B.M. v. State, 523 So.2d 1185 (Fla. 2d DCA 1988), Ricci v. State, 549 So.2d 1186 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989), and Lundy v. State, 596 So.2d 1167 (Fla. 4th DCA 1992). A review of the transcript reveals that appellant's two statements of profanity, which were virtually identical and separated in time only long enough for the trial court to find appellant guilty of contempt, are properly viewed as a single instance of contempt. Accordingly, we affirm the first of the direct contempt convictions, but reverse the second, and vacate the sentence therefor.

AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part.

ZEHMER and WEBSTER, JJ., concur.

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6 cases
  • Smith v. State
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • July 29, 2004
    ...that the behavior occurred during essentially a single outburst and thus did not constitute separate acts. See Williams v. State, 599 So.2d 255, 256 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1992) (concluding, "appellant's two statements of profanity, which were virtually identical and separated in time only long e......
  • U.S. v. Murphy, 02-4005.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • April 16, 2003
    ...our result is consistent with the results reached by the majority of state courts addressing similar facts. See Williams v. State, 599 So.2d 255, 256 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1992) (holding that facts similar to present case constituted only one contempt offense); State v. Lingwall, 637 N.W.2d 311,......
  • State v. Deleon
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals
    • October 10, 2012
    ...v. Murphy, 326 F.3d 501, 504 (4th Cir.2003) (vacating two of three contempt sanctions based on rule of lenity); Williams v. State, 599 So.2d 255, 256 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1992) (defendant's two profane statements, separated in time only long enough for trial court to find defendant in contempt,......
  • Riddle v. State, 4D99-1901.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • April 5, 2000
    ... ... The judge's neutrality should be such that even the defendant will feel that his trial was fair. 755 So.2d 774 Williams v. State, 143 So.2d 484, 488 (Fla. 1962); see also McFadden v. State, 732 So.2d 1180 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999) ...         Accordingly, we reverse ... ...
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