- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Southern Maryland lawyer has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was “maliciously, intentionally and unreasonably restricted” from doing his job last summer when a bailiff removed him from a St. Mary’s courtroom.
The complaint filed on behalf of James F. Farmer of Waldorf states that he was discussing a client’s theft case with a prosecutor and police officer last July in district court, before a judge came in to start the docket, and that the bailiff told Farmer to “shut up.”
Farmer left the courtroom, but returned moments later to talk to the bailiff, Michael Leishear, according to the complaint.
“During this conversation, Leishear aggressively and forcefully grabbed Farmer by the arm, shoved Farmer and told him to leave the courtroom,” according to the complaint filed last week in St. Mary’s Circuit Court. When Farmer stopped to tell his client what was happening, the complaint states, “Leishear aggressively and forcefully grabbed Farmer by the arm, shoved Farmer and instructed three state police officers to escort Farmer from the building. The officers escorted Farmer out [of] the courtroom, down the steps to the first floor [of the Carter state office building] and out the front door.”
The legal complaint prepared by lawyer Michael Klopfer at Farmer’s law office names Leishear, supervising bailiff Joseph Caspar and the state of Maryland as defendants, and alleges a violation of Farmer’s First Amendment rights, assault and battery, causing him to suffer “severe mental anguish, fear, humiliation [and] embarrassment,” through counts seeking $75,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
“The general public should be protected,” Farmer said this week of the filing of the complaint and its allegations.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, representing the defendants, said the agency could not discuss the pending litigation.
The lawsuit states that Farmer has discussed cases with prosecutors “thousands of times” to resolve cases in the courtroom before the docket begins, and that the charge against his client in the file brought into court that day was dismissed.