Public Defender: Man Goes To Jail For Smiling
Utica, NY (WIBX) - A very bizarre story is coming out of the City of Utica regarding the expression on the face of a man appearing in city court and a comment made by the judge who was handling his case.
The Oneida County Public Defenders Office is representing Jeffrey Blunt. Blunt appeared in city court this week where he faced a violation charge of harrassment. He was smiling during the proceeding, apparently, which prompted Judge Gerald Popeo to remind Blunt that he was handcuffed and in an orange jump suit, a situation Blunt shouldn't have thought was funny. He said if he smirked again, he's be held in contempt for 30 days.
The judge added, "I would love to get off the bench and slap (the grin) off your face."
Then, court transcripts show, as the case was apparently over and Blount was sentenced to time served, but Judge Popeo felt Blunt smiled at him again as if to say "blank you," and placed him in contempt.
Below is a PDF file of the entire court transcript.
The Oneida County Public Defender's Office brought its complaint about the case and the jail time to county court today before Judge Barry Donalty. However, Donalty said the matter would need to filed in Supreme Court.
Complicating the matter further is that Blunt is currently being held on a seperate charge. He's due to appear in court on the other charge on Monday.
Judge Popeo's office contacted WIBX today to say Blunt would also be in Utica City Court Monday morning for a review of his previous appearance that landed him the 30 day contempt charge.