Rumpole, your posting is timely.
A Bonita Springs attorney was recently charged with Contempt of Court after she failed to show up for her client's trial. Diane Gonzalez agreed to enter a PTI program and the Judge required her to take a professionalism course, write a letter of apology to the court, make a $250 donation to charity and do 40 hours of community service.
On October 10th, Gonzalez should have been in court for the trial of her client. Her client had been charged with driving while his license was suspended, he was an HTO. Instead, the attorney was in South America on vacation. She had spoken to her client and thought that he had agreed to a plea agreement. So she had someone "cover" the trial for her. On the day of trial, the plea agreement fell through and the "coverage" attorney told the judge that they knew nothing about the case and that they were not prepared to take the case to trial. The Judge was outraged and stated that it would be considered malpractice for an attorney to try and rely on another lawyer to represent a client at trial.
If Gonzalez fulfills the terms of PTI, all charges will be dismissed against her. As a footnote to this story, Dade lawyers should note that the defendant eventually pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to serve four months in jail followed by one year of probation.
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