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Utah attorney disbarred after ‘belligerent’ courtroom episode

A Utah attorney was disbarred recently after he allegedly became belligerent when a judge refused to hear his case. And at a later hearing regarding this behavior, he called witnesses "liars" and "idiots."

The July-August edition of the Utah Bar Journal outlined the incidents that led to Ivins-based attorney John Ciardi’s April disbarment.

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According to the journal’s "Attorney Discipline" section, Ciardi appeared in 5th District Court in St. George to represent a client in a criminal case. However, neither Ciardi or his client was in the courtroom when the case was called, and the judge dismissed the case and sent it back to a lower court.

During the judge’s next roll call hearing, Ciardi entered the courtroom and interrupted the judge’s calendar, the Journal reports, and asked the judge to recall the case.

The judge asked Ciardi to sit down, and eventually had a bailiff escort him from the courtroom.

"Mr. Ciardi caused a disruption and swore loudly as he was leaving the courtroom," the Journal reports. "And he continued to yell loudly outside the courtroom and made disparaging remarks about the judge."

The Journal reports that the episode continued after Ciardi went to the judge’s clerk’s office, where he became "belligerent," yelling and making disparaging remarks about the judge. Eventually, bailiffs from three different courtrooms were called to escort the attorney from the courthouse.

As Ciardi was removed from the building, he yelled obscenities at the bailiffs, the Journal reports.

Later, at a hearing before the Utah Supreme Court Ethics and Discipline Committee, Ciardi allegedly made disparaging comments about the Utah judicial system, judges and committee members.

"Mr. Ciardi repeatedly interrupted witnesses who were attempting to offer testimony, and referred to witnesses as liars and idiots," according to the Utah Bar Journal.

According to the Utah State Bar, Ciardi graduated law school in Massachusetts in 1981. He had been a member of Utah’s Bar since 2006.

Jessica Miller

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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