Louisville judge orders public defender into custody until he can 'quiet down'

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Jefferson Circuit Court judge ordered a defense attorney taken into custody during a hearing Wednesday until he could “quiet down and follow the court’s orders.”

Ryen Schimerman, an attorney with the Louisville Public Defender’s office, was not charged with contempt of court but was detained by Judge McKay Chauvin for 10 minutes after an argument during a revocation hearing.

After Chauvin ruled that a burglary defendant violated the conditions of his probation and incarcerated him, Schimerman began to make an argument when the judge cut him off.

“That’s a pretty brazen thing to do after I’ve twice told you not to do it,” Chauvin told him.

Schimerman said he was obligated to raise objections to preserve the record.

“Your record is made, sir, and poorly made I might add so step away,” Chauvin said. 

When Schimerman continued talking, the judge ordered a sheriff’s deputy to take him into custody.

“We're finished Mr. Schimerman," the judge said, according to a video of the hearing. "Give him about ten minutes to see if he wants to make that motion again. You'll be out in about ten minutes if you can quiet down and follow the court's orders."

The exchange was recorded on the courtroom's video camera

 Schimerman was released after about ten minutes. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Thursday. 

Dan Goyette, head of the public defender’s office, said he planned to meet with Schimerman Thursday to discuss what happened. 

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.