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Federal Judge Jails Doctor For Showing Up Late

April 5, 1986

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A doctor who showed up 40 minutes late for a hearing to explain an earlier absence in a delinquent student loan case was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a judge who wanted to teach him court manners.

U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Wiseman on Friday cited Dr. Walter Lee Barnes for contempt of court after he arrived late and without a lawyer for an 8:30 a.m. hearing. Wiseman said he wanted Barnes to learn to obey court orders.

Barnes told Wiseman he thought the hearing, to explain why he skipped another hearing before a federal magistrate, was set for 9 a.m.

The government sued Barnes in October, claiming he owed $53,234 in student loans obtained in 1974 while he was at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

The government says Barnes must repay the loan because he failed to serve one year active duty as a commissioned officer in the Public Health Service or the National Health Service Corps as stipulated in the loan.

U.S. Magistrate Kent Sandidge had ordered Barnes to appear Feb. 20 to explain why he had not paid back the loans and to provide information about his finances. Sandidge later ordered Barnes to appear before Wiseman after he did not show. He warned that the doctor could be subject to a contempt citation.

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