An Augusta-area criminal defense attorney was found in contempt of court Tuesday and ordered to pay Richmond County for part of the expense of a jury trial that ended in a mistrial because of the attorney’s actions.
Judge Michael N. Annis declared the mistrial in Richmond County Superior Court after defense attorney Martin “Marty” Puetz twice asked a question that violated a ruling Annis had made regarding inadmissible evidence.
“All I can do is say I’m sorry. I made a mistake,” Puetz said Tuesday afternoon at a contempt of court hearing.
Annis told Puetz that he expected better from one of the area’s top criminal defense attorneys who has years of trial experience.
Annis found Puetz in contempt of court, only the third time he has done so in his 10 years on the bench, the judge said.
He waived any jail time and a $500 fine, but as punishment he ordered Puetz to pay the county $1,350, the cost for the trial’s jurors.
Annis declared the mistrial in the case of Jonathan M. Collins, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated battery.
Collins, 29, is accused of biting off part of his father-in-law’s earlobe during an argument on Oct. 20, 2012. He may stand trial again on the trial as early as next week.