An established Cleveland criminal defense lawyer was openly rebuked in a November sentencing hearing by a federal judge following his unethical conduct against a prosecutor calling him unprintable names.
According to the US District Judge James Adams, in an order released Friday in Akron, the defense counsel, Craig Weintraub, was overheard using profane language against the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Michael Sullivan while the child-pornography case of Troy Schuuring was being concluded.
Although the Judge admitted not hearing the statement, he said the incident was reported to him by Deputy U.S. Marshall Jeff Hall. The event was confirmed by Sullivan and two other persons who heard in persons of a police officer and FBI agent present at the time.
In his reaction on the matter, the Judge wrote that the statement diminishes the accused profession as available evidence is sufficient to establish contempt of court case against him with possible jail term or fine. However, in the Judges wisdom, he thought to admonish him openly is proper since his action did not subvert justice.
Adams further said he would send a copy of his order to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to determine appropriate action against Weintraub. According to him, he wonders why Weintraub would allow his stress to get the better of him in such unprofessional way at a sentencing hearing.
Weintraub is a famous criminal defense lawyer covering the Cleveland community with almost 30 years in the field. He is the defense attorney for the Tremont man, Ariel Castro convicted for imprisoning three women in his house for over ten years before he was arrested and sentenced, and hung himself in 2013 while serving his term.
In his reaction, Weintraub said the case against him is a waste of taxpayers’ money. He claimed to know Sullivan and admitted apologizing for him already and added such language is trade fad.
Weintraub further wonders why starting a contempt proceeding against him because of a whose job is to bring criminals to court but acting disturbed by eavesdropping on his curse words which are commonplace among practitioners in his line of business.
With comments and reactions to the incident, the man concerned, Sullivan has not commented on the matter.
Adams gave a hint to what probably led to Weintraub use of curse word saying the defense counsel was furious when Sullivan challenged his argument citing a judgment by another federal judge in the similar case and ensuing argument, Weintraub was angry and queried Sullivan if was calling him a liar.
Following the sentencing, the judge held a conference week to address the report of Hall and had a contempt session after that.
In his reaction on Weintraub apology, Adams said the action was “not the most compelling apology the Court has heard.”
It would be recalled that since Adams was appointed a federal Judge by President George W. Bush in 2003, Weintraub’s case is not the first time a lawyer will be punished in his court. A similar incident happened in downtown Cleveland in October involving a Cleveland lawyer Brent English when he was arrested on his order outside the Justice Center over his missing the hearing of 6-year-old foreclosure litigation and found him guilty of contempt and fined $500.
There is also the incident of Debra Migdal, an Akron federal defender, publicly remanded for issuing subpoenas in a criminal lawsuit. His action against Migdal was later admonished by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in Cincinnati stating that the judge relied on a clear error of fact findings which led to abuse of his power of discretion.