Bathroom Break Shouldn't Nix Jury Trial, Texas Panel Says

Law360 (September 19, 2019, 6:41 PM EDT) -- A lower court judge should not have canceled a jury trial because an attorney in the case left court to go to the bathroom shortly before a pretrial hearing was called, a Texas appeals court ruled Thursday.

The panel said attorney Chris Ainsworth's mild lateness did not justify such a dramatic sanction where the only one punished was his client, Cathaleen Montelongo, a grandmother engaged in a custody dispute.

"The lawyer's conduct in this case bears no relationship to withdrawal of the case from the jury docket," the opinion said. "His brief absence from the courtroom cannot support a sanction against...

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