Reporter receives two-day jail sentence for leaving courtroom
ALABAMA — Decatur Daily staff reporter Seth Blomely faces three days in jail and a fine of $100 for leaving a Decatur courtroom after Morgan County Circuit Judge Bennett McRae asked spectators in the court to keep their seats.
At a sentencing hearing in early December, convicted teen-aged murderer Roy Burgess overturned a table and began shouting in the courtroom. The judge asked the people in the court to stay while deputies returned Burgess to jail.
In his haste to report the incident, Blomely followed Burgess and the deputies through the courtroom’s double doors, stepping between a law enforcement officer and the defendant on his way out.
The judge sent deputies to seize Blomely and charged him with criminal contempt. He released him pending a hearing.
Blomely’s attorneys asked the judge to accept the reporter’s apology for exercising poor judgment under the circumstances and to drop the contempt charges but waived his right to a hearing.
However, the judge in mid-December sentenced Blomely to pay the fine and spend two days in jail starting January 30. The newspaper is appealing the sentence.
(In the matter of Seth Blomely; Media Counsel: Steven Sasser, Decatur)