Judge Throws a Hefty Penalty Flag on Ochocinco
Professional football player Chad Johnson is now sitting in a Miami jail for the crime of smacking his (male) lawyer’s derriere in a courtroom preceding. Johnson was in Judge Kathleen McHugh’s courtroom for violating the terms of his parole. Johnson has been on parole since a head-butting altercation that lead to charges from his now ex-wife, Evelyn Lozada.
Johnson is best known for his years as a Cincinnati Bengal, where he went by the name “Ochocinco,” a reference to his jersey number 85 (though 85 in Spanish is ochenta y cinco, “ocho cinco” translates into just the numbers eight and five).
Johnson has since changed his name back after transferring to the New England Patriots, and later the Miami Dolphins, and following his arrest for domestic violence he has not been on the roster for any NFL team.
Following discussions in the courtroom on an agreement to avoid jail time reached between the prosecution and Johnson’s attorney, Adam Swickle, Judge McHugh asked Johnson if he was satisfied with his lawyer’s services, and Johnson replied by giving Swickle a locker-room swat on the rear.
While the antic caused laughter across the courtroom, Judge McHugh was not entertained. She lectured Johnson for not taking the proceedings seriously, for causing courtroom laughter, and concluded by refusing to accept the plea agreement and imposed her own sentence on Johnson of 30 days in jail for parole violation.
On June 12, Johnson’s lawyer, Swickle, asked that Johnson’s jail sentence be reconsidered. Swickle argued that Johnson, as an NFL player, was just showing his “respect and gratitude” for his attorney, which the judge misunderstood. And as for the courtroom laughter that angered McHugh, Swickle said it “was not Johnson’s fault” and he should not be punished for it.
While being loose and smacking a friend’s backside may be cool in a locker room, Judge McHugh and others found it highly inappropriate in a courtroom proceeding, especially in a case that began with an incident of domestic violence, which is no laughing matter.
Here at the Poppe Law Firm, we enjoy our friendly relationships with all our clients. And, while we certainly believe our courtroom triumphs are worthy of a smack on the rear, for your sake and ours, keep the horseplay in the locker room and stick to professionalism in the courtroom. We would prefer that none of us go to jail.
The Poppe Law Firm represents people all over the state of Kentucky and Indiana in professional malpractice litigation.