Attorney Jailed For Dwelling On Alleged Victim’s Sex Life
MIAMI (AP) _ A judge jailed a defense lawyer who disregarded warnings during a trial not to dwell on the sex life of an alleged rape victim.
Florida law prohibits references during sexual battery trials to a victim’s sexual history.
Assistant Public Defender Carl Vizzi won an acquittal for his client Friday, then was led away by bailiffs to spend five days in jail for his conduct during the trial.
He was freed Saturday on his own recognizance after his attorney, Jack Denaro, petitioned a Third District Court of Appeal on his behalf.
The court will schedule a hearing this week to determine if Vizzi should remain free pending his appeal of Circuit Judge Amy Donner’s contempt order, Denaro said.
During cross-examination of the alleged victim on Wednesday, Vizzi called her an exhibitionist and her husband a voyeur, adding, ″You turn tricks, don’t you?″
At one point, Vizzi slammed two quarters on the witness stand and said, ″You’ll dance nude for 50 cents. What would you do for a dollar?″
The woman charged that the defendant kidnapped and raped her, but the man claimed he had paid the woman for sex.
Holding Vizzi in contempt, Donner said, ″Any rape victim who had the misfortune to observe your conduct would have never continued with a rape prosecution.
″The cross-examination was scandalous, to say the least.″
Vizzi told Donner that he did not mean to violate her orders.
″I defended this man vigorously because I honestly believed he was falsely accused,″ he said.