There are places in this world where a friendly pat on the backside signifies an appreciation for a job well done. Ex-Miami Dolphin receiver Chad Johnson found out the hard way that Broward County Circuit Court is not one of those places.
Johnson was in court on June 10th because of probation violations stemming from an incident last year with now ex-wife and reality TV star Evelyn Lozado. Johnson was not convicted on domestic violence charges, but he did receive a year of probation from Broward Judge Kathleen McHugh in September of 2012. His situation meant that he would avoid jail so long as he met the conditions of his probation. This proved difficult for the player formerly known as Ochocinco however, as he failed to report to his probation officer for three straight months. He turned himself in May claiming a misunderstanding of his probation requirements led to his failure to report.
Johnson’s excuse seemed innocent enough and the courtroom proceedings certainly indicated that he would not be penalized further. That is until Judge McHugh, with the hearing winding down, asked the defendant if he was happy with his representation. Rather than respond with a simple yes, Chad Johnson decided instead he would give his attorney, Adam Swickle, a lighthearted pat on the backside just as he would have done to a teammate on the football field. A murmur of laughter swept through the courtroom, interrupting the proceedings. After looking at the video of the incident, it could be argued that Johnson had no intentions of disrupting the court and his actions were simply those of a relieved man expressing himself in a way that’s always been acceptable in the past. However, he did take the attention away from the court and his crimes, no matter how innocuous a mistaken probation violation may be. That was enough for Judge McHugh to claim he was not taking his probation seriously and sentence him to 30 days in jail.
The outcry from the incident was varied. Some claimed Judge McHugh overreacted to a harmless display of gratitude while others say a judge and her courtroom deserve the utmost respect at all times. A good lawyer like Michael T. Rabideau of West Palm Beach, FL knows that everyone needs a refresher course on courtroom etiquette before they go before a judge. The fact that Mr. Johnson acted inappropriately on top of his rather casual dress indicates that his lawyer did not properly prepare him for what was obviously an important court appearance. When you need a criminal defense attorney with experience, call the Law Office of Michael T. Rabideau as soon as possible.