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Bar to review courtroom argument

By Associated Press
Published January 19, 2004

KISSIMMEE - The National Bar Association plans to review an incident earlier this month in which an Osceola County assistant public defender was handcuffed after being found in contempt of court.

Clyde E. Bailey Sr., president of the association, said Saturday that he requested the group's Florida chapter to review Kemie King's detainment Jan. 6.

King, 27, was handcuffed in the courtroom and ordered to sit beside inmate clients in the jury box as Circuit Judge Margaret Waller continued hearing cases. King was not formally charged and was not booked into jail.

Waller said King was unprepared. King replied that it was not her fault, because she did not have the proper documents to proceed.

King said the prosecution had failed to provide her with paperwork needed to move the case forward.

There was more give-and-take, with the judge and King talking over each other until the judge finally said, "Contempt."

Later, a court deputy led King in handcuffs to a back room, where Waller talked to her privately. When it was over, King returned to the courtroom to assist in entering a guilty plea for her client.

"While we respect the rights of judges to maintain order in their courtrooms, there are certain lines," Veronica Valdez, president of the Florida chapter, said in a statement.

"What we would like to discover is if, in this case, one of those lines was crossed."

A message left at Waller's chambers on Sunday was not returned.

[Last modified January 19, 2004, 01:15:44]


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