The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Tuesday in Macon attorney Veronica Brinson’s appeal of a contempt-of-court finding against her in 2014.
Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms removed Brinson from representing Frank Reeves, a man charged with fatally shooting a woman in 2012, for alleged “ineffective” representation on the eve of Reeves’ scheduled trial in September 2014. Reeves, 76, was found to be incompetent to stand trial in February and was transferred to Central State Hospital in Milledgeville for treatment.
Simms reportedly told Brinson that she’d missed three deadlines for presenting an insanity or diminished capacity defense, and that she’d failed to examine prosecutors’ physical evidence in a timely fashion, according to a case summary provided by the Supreme Court.
Despite Simms’ ordering Brinson not to file documents in Reeves’ case, she filed multiple papers in the court clerk’s office.
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After hearing testimony at a December 2014 hearing, Senior Judge John D. Allen found Brinson guilty of three counts of contempt and sentenced her to four days in jail on each count, but allowed the jail time to be suspended upon her payment of $250 for each count.
Among Brinson’s attorney’s arguments are contentions that several errors were made, that Brinson was illegally denied access to the courts, that her right to due process was violated, and that the contempt citation was issued prematurely, according to the case summary.
Bibb County prosecutors argue that Reeves was not deprived of access to the courts because a public defender was appointed to represent him and Brinson had no legal right to represent him, according to the summary.
They argue that the court records shows Brinson intentionally violated Simms’ order and Allen was correct to find her in contempt, according to the summary.
Brinson again was found to be in contempt last month for failing to obey an order issued in a civil case requiring her to provide documents to her opponents as they sought to collect money a judge had awarded in the case.
Chattahoochee Circuit Superior Court Judge Bemon McBride, who presided over the case in Bibb County Superior Court, ordered Brinson to be jailed until she provides the documents, but she posted a $20,000 bond that has kept her free while the judge’s order is appealed.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.