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Authorities looking for lawyer who is now a fugitive

Attorney reportedly walked out during trial

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More than 24 hours after a judge signed an order for his immediate arrest, Augusta lawyer Christopher Nicholson is considered a fugitive.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Friday afternoon that his officers have looked for Nicholson at his home, office and a golf course he frequents but haven’t found him.

An officer did reach Nicholson by cellphone, and the lawyer knows there is a warrant for his arrest, Strength said.

Nicholson, 64, said he was out of town filing an appeal of the order of contempt that led to his arrest warrant. The sheriff said Nicholson told the officer that when the court ruled either Friday or Monday he would return to Augusta and surrender.

On Friday afternoon, however, a check of the online dockets of the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court showed no pending case involving Nicholson, who has practiced law since 1974.

“If you tell me where he is, I will put him in jail,” Strength said.

Richmond County State Court Judge David Watkins issued an order finding Nicholson in contempt of court Tuesday. The judge imposed a 20-day jail sentence and $500 fine, but he gave Nicholson the option of serving the time on house arrest with electronic monitoring. The judge set a deadline for Nicholson to choose, and when Nicholson had not complied by noon, Watkins issued an order for Nicholson’s immediate arrest to begin a 20-day jail sentence.

The sheriff said his office has interviewed people close to Nicholson and believes Nicholson is out of town. If they knew where he was, they could have the local police department pick Nicholson up and hold him for Richmond County, Strength said.

Using his cellphone to track Nicholson’s location is possible but not practical. The cost in manpower and expenses would be too great. That has been done it for murder cases and such, but the Nicholson matter does not rise to that level, Strength said.

Being a fugitive is not a crime in itself, the sheriff said. If it turns out Nicholson lied to his officer, however, it could be obstruction; Strength said he doubted such a charge would be filed.

“He’s got enough problems,” Strength said.

In addition to the contempt of court ruling, he could face professional disciplinary action for his behavior at a Aug. 2 bench trial before Watkins. The judge conducted a hearing Tuesday – which Nicholson failed to attend – to determine whether he should find Nicholson in contempt of court for walking out in the middle of the trial, leaving his client behind.

Assistant Solicitor Kelly McIntyre said Friday that in 18 years in the court system, “Never in my life have I seen an attorney act like that.”

McIntyre was prosecuting Nicholson’s client, Matthew Dunham, on charges of driving under the influence and speeding.

At the point in the trial that Nicholson should have begun presenting a defense, he was ranting and raving, and then he went over to her, stood directly over her and screamed at her while pointing his finger in her face, she said.

Watkins got both attorneys to sit down and asked Nicholson whether he was going to present witnesses or have his client testify, McIntyre said.

Nicholson threw his things together and got up to leave.

“He can deal with this, or he can take care of this himself,” Nicholson said of his client, who was left at the defense table holding his head in his hands, McIntyre said.

Dunham was found guilty, but he has hired a new attorney and a motion for a new trial has been filed.

One cause listed for the new trial – that Nicholson walked out of the first one.

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Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 04:59 pm
0
0
Talk about a long episode of

Talk about a long episode of hypoglycemia. I guess low blood sugar is what's responsible for him not turning himself in?

happychimer
17498
Points
happychimer 08/26/11 - 05:07 pm
0
0
I saw nothing that said he is

I saw nothing that said he is diabetic. A commenter said he might be diabetic, and other posters went with it.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 05:11 pm
0
0
quite a few were making

quite a few were making apologies for his behavior claiming he had low blood sugar because of early stage diabetes.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 08/26/11 - 05:13 pm
0
0
That seems to be a popular

That seems to be a popular consensus of the excuses crowd Emerydan. I'm thinking a sugar plunge that's been that low since Tuesday should have him comatose by now. Has Ronnie checked the hospitals? I'm sure he must be there, surely he wouldn't be avoiding jail time and possible repercussions for walking out on his client in the middle of a trial......

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 05:15 pm
0
0
I sense "Twinky" Defense.

I sense "Twinky" Defense.

Cassandra Harris
-3
Points
Cassandra Harris 08/26/11 - 05:37 pm
0
0
Perhaps "Ben & Jerry" can act

Perhaps "Ben & Jerry" can act as defense team.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 08/26/11 - 05:46 pm
0
0
I'm diabetic but not that
Unpublished

I'm diabetic but not that stupid.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 06:35 pm
0
0
This guy also seems to have a

This guy also seems to have a problem with black judges.. so maybe there's something more at play here than low blood sugar

augusta citizen
9317
Points
augusta citizen 08/26/11 - 06:54 pm
0
0
Craziness...

Craziness...

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 07:05 pm
0
0
maybe the sheriff needs to

maybe the sheriff needs to put an APB out to search all of the local Krispy Kremes

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 08/26/11 - 07:18 pm
0
0
Try one of the "gentlemen's

Try one of the "gentlemen's clubs" on the 500 block of Broad or TC's house.

IamNewToComputers
0
Points
IamNewToComputers 08/26/11 - 07:29 pm
0
0
He might be working out at

He might be working out at Health Central or eating at Sandwich City.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 07:31 pm
0
0
TC's house?

TC's house?

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 08/26/11 - 09:13 pm
0
0
augusta reverts back to its
Unpublished

augusta reverts back to its "green acres" roots. the haneys are after ole' mister douglas!

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 08/26/11 - 09:15 pm
0
0
after TJ's, you might want to
Unpublished

after TJ's, you might want to check alf and ralphs, druckers and last but not least hooters-ville. lol!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/26/11 - 09:25 pm
0
0
"quite a few were making

"quite a few were making apologies for his behavior claiming he had low blood sugar because of early stage diabetes."

That is a blatant untruth. The debate on diabetes erupted because 1, ONE poster suggested that maybe he should get tested considering his erratic behavior. You and/or others said it could not cause that behavior. From then on, the entire diabetes discussion revolved around whether or not it could cause someone to behave erratically, noy whether or not that was Nicholson's issue.

Please get it right before posting.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 10:23 pm
0
0
sorry vito, you are wrong. go

sorry vito, you are wrong. go back and read the posts. Several people were making excuses for his behavior because of low blood sugar from early stage diabetes.. saying it was out of character for him so it must be due to a medical issue. But others dug up articles from previous years where Nicholson also exhibited beligerant behavior in the courtoom. So this is a pattern of behavior for him and has absolutely nothing to do with a medical condition. But the apologists are the ones making outlandish excuses for his behavior.. and it was not just "one" person.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/26/11 - 10:26 pm
0
0
Please quote them, I did not

Please quote them, I did not read that.

scoopdedoop64
2366
Points
scoopdedoop64 08/26/11 - 10:36 pm
0
0
this thread is just too

this thread is just too funny! If Ronnie wants to catch him maybe he should just put up a Red Flashing Sign, "Hot Doughnuts Now"

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/26/11 - 10:54 pm
0
0
It was stupid for anyone to

It was stupid for anyone to bring up the "low blood sugar" excuse in the first place.. that was the whole point and that's why we called BS on it. And now seeing as to how this seems to be a character trait of Mr Nicholson rather than some anomolous behavior it makes the excuse even more invalid. I will be the first to admit that low blood sugar can make an individual fidgety, lightheaded, and act a little strange.. but not how this man acted in the court room. Sorry, been around too many diabetics. But the original point being if he cannot control his behavior in the courtroom then he has no business practicing law. There's is an abundance of evidence here that shows this guy is pretty much a jerk in the courtroom and has a history of mouthing off at judges. Outside the courtroom he could be sweet as pie. But its his behavior in the courtroom that matters in regard to his fitness to practice law. He will be disbarred for this, and he should be.

curly123053
4658
Points
curly123053 08/27/11 - 12:22 am
0
0
I wonder if he has

I wonder if he has undiagnosed dementia or alzhiemers? If he does not have a pattern of this type of behavior there could be something medical related to his conduct.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 08/27/11 - 01:37 am
0
0
curly.. we went through this

curly.. we went through this ad nauseum earlier, Mr Nicholson does have a pattern of belligerent outbursts in the courtroom and of mouthing off to judges. Someone posted links earlier to chronicle articles dating back to 1997 of Mr Nicholson acting this was in a court and talking back to the presiding judge. So it does not appear that this incident was out of character for him at all.

IamNewToComputers
0
Points
IamNewToComputers 08/27/11 - 06:18 am
0
0
Try Vegas or the local

Try Vegas or the local senior's bridge games!

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 08/27/11 - 06:30 am
0
0
It appears (to me) that this

It appears (to me) that this man has something more going on than just bad behavior.

Vito45 I agree with your comment at 9:25 pm but it's normal for some to twist words when they don't agree.

Brad Owens
4423
Points
Brad Owens 08/27/11 - 06:47 am
0
0
I hate to see a person of

I hate to see a person of substance act like this and cause such a problem. It is self inflicted I know, but still not something I like to see happen.

Just bizzare. There is more to this obviously, but you gotta love Augusta, no shortage of great small town freak-shows to keep the headlines interesting.

No wonder so many reporters cut thier teeth here and then move on to greater/larger markets.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Brad

Brad Owens
4423
Points
Brad Owens 08/27/11 - 06:53 am
0
0
InChristLove, Yeah, I think

InChristLove,

Yeah, I think there must have been an issue between him and the client too.

I think I would have pulled a "movie" moment, stood up and said, "Your Honor, I fire my attorney and ask you for an adjournment till I can find new council! And will somoene get me a drink?"

The DUI defendant missed a great oppourtunity to mock the entire system RIGHT there in my opinion.

But I know Judge Watkins, and he is no one to be fooled with. I admire him very much, former Marine, tough and honest.

TrickMe
37
Points
TrickMe 08/27/11 - 09:24 am
0
0
If only Sheriff Strength and

If only Sheriff Strength and his department would exhibit as much vigor and determination to find and arrest the drug dealers and thieves that plague our street corners day and night in open view Augusta might actually become a safer place.

Riverman1
83725
Points
Riverman1 08/27/11 - 09:29 am
0
0
Oh come on. Ronnie Strength

Oh come on. Ronnie Strength could ask his friend, Whitey, to tell Nicholson to come in and it would be over. Clean him up a little, get him in court to apologize, take a few weeks house arrest and be done with this soap opera.

TrickMe
37
Points
TrickMe 08/27/11 - 09:38 am
0
0
Soap opera makes it look like

Soap opera makes it look like they are vigilant. My point - be vigilant in pursuit of the real criminals that are in their face - and ours - every
day all day. Wide open view and nothing is done.

dotherightthing
75
Points
dotherightthing 08/27/11 - 09:50 am
0
0
RIGHT ON TrickMe...be

RIGHT ON TrickMe...be vigilant with these criminals that are causing injury and wreaking havoc on our beautiful city. These criminals are right in front of their faces! What gives??

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