It wasn't a potential juror's problem with promptness that landed him in jail Tuesday but an inability to keep his mouth shut.
Ricky Christopher, 23, showed up late for the second time in two days and then tried to explain himself to Oklahoma County District Judge Ray C. Elliott, who had warned him the day before to be on time.
“I asked him to be quiet and he kept talking,” Elliott said of Christopher, who returned from lunch 15 minutes late Monday. “Let's just say he offered less than credible excuses.”
Courthouse deputies took Christopher into custody Tuesday morning after he arrived 14 minutes late for jury selection in the trial of a man accused of child abuse.
Christopher faces up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for disobeying the judge, who will decide punishment at a hearing set for next week.
Elliott appointed defense attorney Tony Coleman to represent Christopher, who apologized to the judge after spending four hours behind bars. He was released Tuesday afternoon.
The attorney said Christopher told him he was late Tuesday because the car he shares with his girlfriend broke down and his cellphone stopped working.
“He thought he had enough time to go home and eat,” Coleman said.
Christopher could not be reached for comment, but Coleman said his client used poor judgment when he kept interrupting the judge.
“That's just something you do not do,” the attorney said. “You don't try to talk over a judge.”
I asked him to be quiet and he kept talking. Let's just say he offered less than credible excuses.”
Ray C. Elliott,
Oklahoma County district judge about a juror held in contempt of court