Give Us Strength, Dear Lord
Lest we succumb to temptation and be consumed in the fires of iniquity:
A testy exchange between a Superior Court judge and a lawyer has netted the attorney two days in jail and the temporary loss of his law license.
Judge Michael Helms also sentenced Raymond Marshall to submit to a psychologist's examination and to perform 70 hours of community service for the contempt of court violation.
Marshall cannot practice law for 30 days, but his license may be returned sooner if he performs the community service, Helms said.
An outburst in court by Marshall was the culmination of a dispute that began about a month ago, when one of Marshall's clients appeared before the judge on an assault charge - the third time the case was brought to a trial.
What did the erring esquire do to draw down the wrath of the Court?
On Oct. 4, the first day of the latest trial, Helms stopped Marshall during the questioning of one of the witnesses.
Marshall said "Lord," reared back in his chair with outstretched arms, cast his eyes upward and turned to the audience, Helms said.
"How am I supposed to take that?" Helms said Thursday as he penalized the lawyer. "If the court does not get the respect from members of the bar, we can't have the respect from clients, and then we have anarchy."
Marshall, who is also a minister, said the remark was the beginning of a prayer. He apologized to Helms and said he did not intend to be disrespectful or for his remark to be heard by others.
"When you're involved in trial and the motors are running ... there are times when you feel you need strength and my strength comes from God," Marshall said.
The Almighty was unavailable for comment.