An appeals court docket requested the speedy launch Thursday of a New Orleans lawyer jailed for contempt of court by a Felony District Courtroom judge after he didn’t seem for a murder demo that by no means kicked off.
Stavros Panagoulopoulos still left the New Orleans jail about 9:20 p.m. Thursday, immediately after the 4th Circuit Courtroom of Enchantment requested his release. The court’s purchase arrived right after attorneys submitted a writ of habeas corpus — which requires a decide to examine no matter if somebody is currently being lawfully detained — on Panagoulopoulos’ behalf, stating he had every appropriate to depart the courtroom.
Panagoulopoulos was arrested Thursday next a hearing in the courtroom of Orleans Parish Felony District Courtroom Decide Kimya Holmes. She had decided Panagoulopoulos exhibited “willful disregard” for a ask for that he show up for a murder demo that was set for Monday.
Holmes requested Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Place of work deputies to arrest Panagoulopoulos after he left her courtroom Monday in advance of the scheduled demo of his consumer, Christopher Patterson, who, alongside with Gerald Barnes, is charged with second-diploma murder in the April 2018 capturing dying of 23-calendar year-previous Alfred Johnson in Gentilly.
Courtroom transcripts demonstrate that Holmes believed Panagoulopoulos’ absence could have been racially determined.
“All I’m expressing is … if I was a white male or a white woman, I’m quite confident the treatment I would be obtaining from the protection lawyers would be diverse,” Holmes stated, according to the transcript.
But in an interview, Panagoulopoulos said that he only remaining Holmes’ courtroom following a plea deal achieved in between the protection attorneys and prosecutors fell by means of, and it grew to become apparent that all get-togethers would inquire for a continuance in the demo.
Panagoulopoulos was also wanted in the 24th Judicial District Court docket in Jefferson Parish, where by jury variety had started in the murder demo of an additional of Panagoulopoulos’ shoppers: Leonidas Lowry, who was this 7 days discovered responsible of second-degree murder in the November 2016 slaying of Ethan Allen in Gretna.
In accordance to the writ of habeas corpus filed on his behalf, all lawyers experienced agree to reset the demo right before Panagoulopoulos remaining, just after which he was “free to report to Jefferson Parish.”
The court transcript shows Holmes fought the attorneys’ request to set a new demo day right until she learned that a essential protection witness was not able to testify since he was possessing surgical procedure.
Panagoulopoulos explained he was surprised by Holmes’ assertion that he may possibly have left mainly because of her race.
“I protect all people, and I deal with all my purchasers similarly — and I would have accomplished the similar thing no issue who was on trial or which judge I was in front of,” Panagoulopoulos claimed.
He included that his domestic associate of 15 a long time, with whom he has two youngsters, is Black.
Panagoulopoulos claimed that subsequent the conclusion of Lowry’s trial Wednesday night, he voluntarily returned to Orleans Parish Legal District Court on Thursday morning to go over his absence with Holmes.
She identified him in contempt of court docket, information demonstrate, and remanded him to the jail for a 24-hour maintain. Holmes also fined Panagoulopoulos $100, according to courtroom information.
The 4th Circuit Courtroom of Appeal’s get, which introduced Panagoulopoulos, also needs that the legal courtroom to develop the transcript from Monday, as very well as Holmes’ created judgment conveying her conclusion to find Panagoulopoulos in contempt of courtroom, for its overview.
Holmes declined to remark Friday, expressing that she couldn’t talk about a pending circumstance. Orleans Parish Criminal District Court docket Judicial Administrator, Rob Kazik, also declined to comment on Friday.
“Probably the most crucial issue to me — to any human being — is my character and name,” mentioned Panagoulopoulos, who reported the predicament was disturbing. “As a criminal protection lawyer, my character and popularity are of the utmost significance. It is what I wander in with. It’s all I have.”