A lawyer in Missouri was ordered to spend a week in jail after saying “fuck you” to a judge in St. Louis County.
Medical malpractice attorney Eugene H. Fahrenkrog Jr. stands accused of criminal contempt for using the vulgarity during a hearing regarding a 2019 medical malpractice case that was overseen by St. Louis County Circuit Judge John N. Borbonus.
In a contempt order filed on Wednesday of this week, the judge describes the scene and refers to himself in the third-person:
On July 14, 2021, at a scheduled hearing in the above-entitled Court and in the immediate view, hearing and presence of Circuit Judge John N. Borbonus, St. Louis County Circuit Court, Clayton, Missouri, Attorney Eugene H. Fahrenkrog, Jr., Missouri Bar Number 22309 did state directly to Judge John N. Borbonus, “Fuck you!”
Using broad, sweeping and floral language, Bornobus categorized the offensive utterance as a direct affront to the integrity of the court–and the judge’s own power.
“Said behavior was willfully and intentionally committed, contemptuous, insolent and directly tended to interrupt proceedings of this Court and to impair the respect due its authority,” the order filed the same day those verboten words left the lawyer’s lips alleges.
“Therefore, this Court having presented Eugene H. Fahrenkrog Jr. with oral notice of the act so charged, and this Court having presented Eugene H. Fahrenkrog Jr. with an opportunity to answer to the criminal contempt, the Court finds beyond a reasonable doubt is guilty of direct criminal contempt,” the order concludes before issuing directions to law enforcement to detain the attorney in the Department of Justice Services of St. Louis County “until released according to law or until further order of the Court.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it is not currently known what prompted the courtroom outburst of emotion but the docket in the case reflects “an ongoing dispute over the production of evidence among the parties of the lawsuit and that Wednesday’s hearing was an attempt to resolve those issues.”
The attorney was not in jail as of Wednesday and had not been apprehended by authorities as of Thursday either, according to the New York Post.
Law&Crime reached out to Fahrenkrog’s law firm for comment on this story but a response was not immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.
Borbonus was originally appointed to the bench by then-governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, in 2011. He was promoted to circuit judge by current Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson, a Republican, in 2018.
Prior to his time as a judge, Borbonus served as an assistant attorney general for Missouri and was also a partner at a law firm that specialized in civil litigation related to real estate law, civil rights defense, insurance defense, and employment law, according to an online government biography.
Bornobus currently meets overall judicial performance standards, according to the state judiciary’s website.
Fahrenkrog has been licensed to practice law in the Show Me State since September 1971, according to the Missouri Bar.
[images via Vimeo/screengrab, yourmisssourijudges.org]
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