An arrest warrant has been issued for defense attorney Adam Reposa after he failed to show for his criminal contempt trial Monday in Travis County district court.
Reposa, who faces up to 180 days in jail for questioning a judge’s integrity during a March drunken driving trial, informed his attorneys and the American-Statesman on Monday morning that he was seeking medical attention for a heart issue. But Judge Paul Davis wasn’t buying it — or at least didn’t think a doctor’s visit should take precedent over a court appearance — and issued the arrest order after Reposa was absent for a second time after lunch.
“This is very troubling,” Davis told the court.
Reposa, in a phone call with the American-Statesman, said he has been suffering from heart issues for “a couple of weeks.” He added that the physician he saw Monday referred him to a psychologist to determine if the problem is related to mental health.
“I know that in this current state of agitation — both physical and psychological — that I find myself in, if I were to either be participating in or testifying in a trial I would not be able to effectively assist my lawyer,” Reposa said.
Reposa’s attorney, Steven Brand, produced documentation after lunch that showed Reposa had visited a physician earlier in the day. But prosecutors argued the visit was nothing more than a ploy by Reposa to prolong the case after he had been denied a continuance.
“He’s submitting excuses that don’t hold water,” said Keith Henneke of the Travis County district attorney’s office.
Reposa’s failure to appear thickens an already bizarre plot that has been building since late March, when Reposa told County Court-at-Law Judge Nancy Hohengarten that she was being prejudicial against his client during jury selection of a DWI trial. That comment, along with other alleged signs of disrespect, prompted Hohengarten to issue a finding of contempt.
Reposa struck back last month, asking a visiting judge to order Hohengarten to be recused from presiding over any of his cases. That motion was denied.
Reposa also is asking that Hohengarten be held in contempt for meddling in his contempt trial by appointing special prosecutors with the district attorney’s office. That matter is pending.
Last week, Reposa’s defense team argued unsuccessfully to have Davis recused as judge in the contempt case, suggesting that his finding Reposa guilty of contempt in 2008 might make him biased. Reposa was given 90 days in jail for a lewd gesture simulating masturbating before Davis cut the sentence to 10 days.
Following Reposa’s motion to recuse Davis, the district attorney’s office asked visiting judge Gary Steel to sanction Reposa and his attorney Mike Driver and charge them $450 per hour they spent preparing for the recusal hearing.
Davis denied a second motion the defense presented Monday asking that Reposa be evaluated by a psychologist for competency.
Reposa said of his impending arrest, “My guess is I’ll be turned in before I turn myself in. Obviously, this isn’t helping my heart condition any.”