Judge files motion to hold Wilco DA Jana Duty in contempt of court


A district judge has filed a motion to hold Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty in contempt for violating a gag order about a capital murder case.

If Duty is found guilty of contempt, she could face a $500 fine and/or six months in jail.

District Judge Rick Kennon said he issued an order April 9 — that the district attorney’s office had requested — that prohibited lawyers involved in the Crispin Harmel case from talking about it to reporters, according to the motion he filed Thursday.

The judge said he received an email from Duty on May 6 that she planned to contact a reporter about an article published online by the Austin American Statesman related to pleadings filed by the defense in the Harmel case, the motion said. The judge said he got a copy of the article published in the Statesman print edition on May 7 that contained “alleged quotes” from Duty.

Kennon said he held a court hearing May 8 in which all attorneys involved in the Harmel case were required to show up, but that Duty failed to come, the motion said.

Duty sent an email to the judge later on May 8 saying she refused to appear because she felt like she had not been given enough respect, “and therefore, she would not give respect to the Court by showing up for the hearing,” the motion said.


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