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Judge finds attorney in contempt of court

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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.

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CricketSeranade 06/18/13 - 09:01 pm
Is that Puetz or Putz?

Though in all likelihood he knew exactly what he was doing. They should have made him pay for the cost of the entire trial. That would have got his attention. Guess the evidence must be pretty strong against his client for him to resort to a stunt like that.

scoopdedoop64 06/18/13 - 09:23 pm
Mike Tyson Syndrome

Sounds fair to me! Maybe he should have claimed that his client had a case of Mike Tyson syndrome.

just an opinion
just an opinion 06/18/13 - 10:04 pm
He knew exactly what he was doing.

Pay these guys enough and they will do and say anything you want.

EMS4411 06/19/13 - 05:03 am
The Legal System is a Joke

The Legal System is a Joke

rmwhitley 06/19/13 - 09:24 am
A 5 year old

child understands when told no and if he/she does it anyway there are consequences. My belief is that puetz must be 4 years old.

Sweet son
Sweet son 06/19/13 - 12:23 pm
Man, if the judge tells you not to do something in his "house"

you better not do it. Yes, the attorney should pay for all trial costs.

Jason Hasty
Jason Hasty 06/20/13 - 06:47 am
Legal System

As an attorney who is familiar with Mr. Puetz and his excellent reputation I encourage everyone to resist a verdict on both him and our entire legal system based on one news article. Judge Annis is one is the finest judges we have and our jury system is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Sometimes "perfect storms" arise and while I was not present during this case I can tell you that the practice of law can be stressful. The rules of evidence were entirely rewritten just last year and we are all still getting used to a shift to a "national" version of the law in that area. The Honorable Judge Annis has ruled and that is subject to review on appeal. Whether that happens will be up to Mr. Puetz who may decide to just respect the decision. I am confident that both the judge and the lawyer in this matter retain their professionalism and respect for one another.

corgimom 06/20/13 - 01:08 pm
He does have an excellent

He does have an excellent reputation and does a lot of public defender work. I was on jury duty when he was an attorney for a defendant, and he was good.

I think that yes, it was an honest mistake.

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