Ogden judge considers sanctions for attorney accused of contempt
Published: July 25, 2012 02:01PM
Updated: October 30, 2012 11:33PM

Ogden • Calling his actions “stupid,” defense attorney Michael Boyle was apologetic Wednesday before a judge who has accused him of contempt of court, stemming from Boyle’s behavior during June hearings on an injunction against the Ogden Trece gang.

Second District Court Judge Ernie Jones has taken the issue under advisement.

Jones set the contempt hearing after Boyle had repeatedly excused himself to attend matters in other courtrooms during three days of hearings regarding Ogden Trece. Boyle also was absent from a motion hearing in May.

At the time, Jones called Boyle’s behavior “troubling,” and said his actions were questionable because he was not representing the same clients as defense attorneys Randy Richards and Michael Studebaker, who were present throughout the Trece hearings.

Richards represented Boyle in court Wednesday, calling Boyle’s decision “not a very intelligent blunder.”

The criminal contempt charge is punishable with fines or jail time, but Richards asked that Boyle receive no penalty, as he has already suffered for the misunderstanding.

Richards told Jones that Boyle spent about 15-20 hours writing a lengthy memorandum about the contempt charge — which he estimated was worth about $2,500 of Boyle’s time — and the incident was detailed in two newspapers because of the high-profile case involved.

“He’s already paid the proverbial pound of flesh,” Richards told Jones.

Boyle told the judge he thought he could handle the overlapping caseload, with Richards and Studebaker covering the Trece hearing. He said he also thought Jones wouldn’t mind if he excused himself from court.

“What I did was indefensible,” Boyle said in court Wednesday. “I should have made it a priority and I didn’t.”

Boyle has been a practicing lawyer for 18 years, according to the Utah State Bar.

Jones said he spoke with other judges, and learned that Boyle has somewhat of a reputation for being late for court. He said other judges have addressed this issue with Boyle, but the behavior continued.

“I think I need to do something to get your attention,” he said.

Jones said he would take the case under advisement, and issue a written finding.

“There’s no joy in this, from my standpoint,” he told Boyle.

Jones also is planning to issue a written finding ruling as to whether the city’s injunction will become permanent action in the city, but that decision has not yet been filed.

The injunction prohibits members of the Ogden Trece street gang from associating with each other in the city, sets a curfew and prohibits them from carrying guns or graffiti tools in public.

Weber County prosecutors call the gang a nuisance, and say the injunction is appropriate. Defense attorneys say the injunction violates their clients’ constitutional rights.

jmiller@sltrib.com