Gosh golly gee – The Ukiah Daily Journal
In 2018, a case called Campasano v. Koster was tried in an Illinois state court in Cook County (home of Chicago). It was one of the many trivial cases, probably thousands, that were tried in Illinois that year.
But the case has gained some notoriety, not because of the legal issues at stake between the parties, but because of the misconduct of the lawyer on one side. The plaintiff, presumably Campasano (the file does not mention any of the first names of the parties) was represented by a David Thollander. During the trial, which lasted from May 21 to 24, 2018, the trial judge noted that she had to “have repeatedly reprimanded Mr. Thollander for obeying the decisions of the Court, and made him obey him. besides reprimanded on several occasions that if he continued his inappropriate behavior in the courtroom, including shouting, behaving in a hostile manner, [and] intervening in the decisions of the Court, that Mr. Thollander would be found guilty of direct criminal contempt. “
And on August 28 (it’s unclear why it took so long to render the decision) the trial judge did just that. His final ruling clarified that Thollander, ârefused to comply with court orders; whispered continuously under his breath throughout the trial; interrupted the Court, shouting: “Gadzooks!” âAfter the Court’s decision; and behaved in other rude, hostile and unseemly ways towards the court. She fined Thollander $ 1,000.
What seems to have caught everyone’s attention is that part about Thollander shouting “Gadzooks!” In response to the judge’s decisions. Lawyers got in trouble for things like wearing clothes the judge didn’t like (once famously for wearing a turban). Or to continue arguing after a judge has already ruled against them. Etc.
So there were many reasons to justify a contempt decision against Mr. Thollander (particularly the part that despite his repeated reprimands, he interrupted the judge and violated previous court orders).
But âGadzook! “?
Well, despite what you might have thought you learned about The Flintstones, this is not a quote from “Romeo and Juliet”. The earliest recorded use of “Gadzooks” dates only to the mid-17th century, when “Romeo and Juliet” was one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, having been written in the 1590s. Neither is “Gadzooks” plus a particularly objectionable word – in fact, many dictionaries cite it as a sweet, albeit archaic, oath.
So it had to be that part about Thollander shouting “Gadzooks!” Judges really don’t like you yelling at them.
Always remember that a courtroom is not a school board meeting.
Thollander appealed his contempt fine and was successful in getting the Illinois Court of Appeals to stay the fine while his appeal made its way through the system. He also requested permission to file transcripts of the trial, which were neither part of the court’s decision nor part of the trial court’s own record, as the transcripts must be requested from the court reporter and paid for.
But as the appeals court explained, while Thollander filed various other documents and possibly legal arguments, he was never able to file the transcripts although he sought and obtained permission to le to do.
So another good rule of thumb: don’t yell “Gadzooks!” to the judge, then promise the court of appeal that you will provide transcripts. . . and then not to do it. Judges also hate this stuff.
In fact, however, it’s a little hard to see why, even if Thollander had submitted the transcripts, they would have done so much good. Would they have shown things like:
âLAWYER FOR THE APPLICANT: Objection. Hearsay.
âCLAIMANT’S LAWYER:â Gadzooks! “(Spoken in a gentle and respectful manner)”?
âMay 22. Second day of the trial. Still no whisper in his beard whatsoever from Mr. Thollander.
No . . . no, I do not think so.
Therefore, the decision of the court of appeal begins by explaining that, âwhere the appeal record contains no procedural report and a limited common law record, we have no choice but to uphold the court order of criminal contempt. “
In other words, because Thollander failed to provide a good reason for the appeals court to depart from the trial court’s decision, the appeals court upheld the contempt verdict and l ‘fine. But at the very least, Thollander has provided a new way (or at least a new word) for lawyers to get in trouble with trial judges.
And in the future, he will know that if he wants to convince the appeals court that he was right, he will have to bring in a court reporter who will include stage instructions in the transcript.
Frank Zotter, Jr. is an attorney for Ukiah.