A Nevada public defender was handcuffed alongside inmates in jail clothing in court Monday after a judge accused her of interrupting him while she argued on behalf of her client, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
In a tense exchange, Las Vegas Judge Conrad Hafen told Zohra Bakhtary, a deputy public defender, to “be quiet” as she made the case for keeping her client, who was appearing on theft charges, out of jail.
“Zohra, be quiet,” the judge cautioned the attorney, according to court transcripts obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
“Judge, you’re asking—” Bakhtary said, but the judge cut her off.
“You’re making—” Bakhtary tried again before Hafen asked if she wanted to be found in contempt of court.
She tried yet again: “Judge, you’re asking—”
“Zohra, be quiet. Now. Not another word,” Hafen shot back.
Bakhtary said, “Judge, you’re—,” before Hafen turned to his marshal and directed him to take the public defender into custody, saying, “Travis, right now. I’m tired of it. Right now.”
Bakhtary was handcuffed and placed in the jury box, the Review-Journal reported. Her client was ordered to spend six months in jail.
Hafen later asked for her to be released, saying, “I think she’s learned a lesson.”
“You need to have order in a courtroom,” the judge later told the Review-Journal. “And there needs to be proper decorum with attorneys.”
Hafen also said he’s had difficulty with Bakhtary in his courtroom before, but he’s “been trying to work with her.”
“There’s been a progression of steps in the courtroom where I’ve tried to let her know it’s not proper decorum for her to continue to talk over me or interrupt me after she’s already made her argument,” he told the Review-Journal. “Once an argument is made, then you have to allow the judge to respond, so there’s a clear record, and you shouldn’t be interrupting the judge as the judge is making a ruling…Today it just spilled over to where I thought, ‘Well, clearly she’s not understanding what I’m trying to tell her.’”