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Judge issues warning

December 13, 2000

Judge issues warning



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Franklin County, Pa., judge known for both his sense of humor and stern lectures when sentencing defendants, turned his tongue on the attorneys Wednesday in court and threatened to impose $100 fines if they fail to show up on time in the future.

"You can't sashay in here whenever you damn well please," said Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Walker.

Walker's reprimand came after court proceedings had to be halted Wednesday morning when several attorneys failed to arrive on time.

The four county judges generally hold sentencings and arraignments at 9 a.m. Wednesdays in the county court building.

After conducting two brief sentencings, Walker called a recess because the attorneys for the remaining defendants were not present.

The court was called back to order at 9:45 a.m. when Walker publicly rebuked several attorneys and warned them future tardiness would result in $100 fines for contempt of court.

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"I'm not going to take it. There will be a $100 fine if you are not here when court starts," he said.

"If you are a county employee and you can't be here at 9 a.m. you should resign," he said.

Walker stressed a mounting workload and increase in cases is further reason to be on time and keep things running smoothly on Wednesdays.

Several attorneys apologized, and defense attorney Colleen Rettig explained she had car trouble. Defense attorney Tyrone Johnson told Walker he was late because a defendant called at the last minute and needed a ride to court.

Walker said he would excuse tardiness due to car trouble in the future, but he told Jones he would rather have him be on time and then worry about a late or absent defendant.

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