Facing up to 180 days in jail, Austin defense attorney Adam Reposa took the witness stand Monday on the first day of his contempt of court trial and pleaded for lenience.
“Got a little hot, shouldn’t have done it,” Reposa testified, admitting he was out of line when he questioned a judge’s authority during a March 27 drunken driving trial. “I just want to go home to my kids, man.
“I don’t think I should go to jail for this.”
His fate rests with Judge Paul Davis, who probably will make a decision at some point Tuesday after closing arguments. There is no jury in this case.
And that could be problematic for Reposa, whose courtroom behavior has irritated the judge. About five minutes into the proceedings, Reposa stood to leave after Davis sided against him in a motion to dismiss the charges. Reposa, who in June skipped a trial appearance in Davis’ court for a doctor’s appointment, made it only a few steps.
“Mr. Reposa, sit down!” the judge yelled.
Reposa asked if he was under arrest. Davis replied, “You will be momentarily if you leave this room.”
Reposa informed his attorneys he no longer needed them. Then he rehired one of them, Steven Brand, about an hour later. The judge appeared relieved by Brand’s re-entry.
Reposa, whom Davis found in contempt in 2008 for making a lewd gesture in court, is accused this time of questioning the integrity of Travis County Judge Nancy Hohengarten and continuing to question potential jurors after she cautioned him to stop.
Reposa is also alleged to have said out loud that he purposely was being difficult to show jurors how hard it is to “get a fair trial” in Hohengarten’s court.
“It’s not about me being offended; it’s about offending the dignity of the court,” Hohengarten testified Monday.
Davis, voice raised, told Reposa his actions that day were inappropriate.
“What gives you the right to do that?” he said. “What in the world is the appellate court for?”
Reposa said mental health issues might have contributed to his actions.
“It’s your mental state, isn’t it?” Davis fired back.
As the exchange continued, Davis suggested Reposa should have pursued other remedies to resolve the dispute, such as requesting a hearing outside the presence of the jury or letting an appeals court weigh in.
“I care more about my clients’ freedom than my own,” Reposa said.
The contempt case has featured many bizarre moments, including last month when Reposa arrived at a hearing in cowboy boots, Capri pants, a sailor hat and an untied bow tie. Reposa was hoping to be found incompetent to stand trial.
But Davis didn’t buy it and denied Reposa’s request to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
Reposa has criticized several people he believes have wronged him in this case. They include Hohengarten, against whom he built an official oppression case; several members of the district attorney’s office who signed affidavits saying Reposa harassed them; and members of the sheriff’s office, who revoked the badge that lets Reposa bypass courthouse security.