Lawyer denies contempt of court

Published January 31, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - A defense lawyer Tuesday denied a criminal contempt-of-court allegation that he improperly contacted a juror who had been dismissed before the start of the felony hazing trial of five Florida A&M University fraternity brothers.

The indirect criminal contempt complaint by Circuit Judge Kathleen Dekker also alleges that attorney Richard Keith Alan II was more than an hour late for trial in December without contacting court officials to explain his absence.

Alan is set for arraignment Feb. 19. He posted a $2,000 bond and was released from custody shortly after Dekker sentenced his client, Jason Harris, and a co-defendant, Michael Morton, to two years in prison Monday.

Dekker alleged that on Jan. 11, without court authorization, Alan went to the home of Gwendolyn Wiggins, who had been selected as a juror but was excused before lawyers made opening statements at the trial Dec. 12.

Alan had opposed the replacement of Wiggins, who is black, with an alternate because he felt the jury wasn't diverse enough without her.