Attorney released from jail following contempt charge

By Linda Looney-Bond


A Jonesboro attorney, who was found in contempt of court and jailed Friday, was released from custody Monday, after he submitted a letter of apology to Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield.

David Lee Smith was released from the jail early Monday afternoon, according to jail officials.

Benefield ordered sheriff's deputies to jail Smith Friday, after she said the lawyer disrespected the court during a hearing. She sentenced him to 20 days in the Clayton County Jail, and denied him bond.

According to a Superior Court contempt order, after Smith served two days in jail, the 18 remaining days of the sentence could be suspended -- if Smith agreed to: provide a written apology to the court, and provide written intent to apply for assistance with the Georgia Bar Association for help with anger management.

"I hand-delivered a hand-written letter, and also a typed letter to the judge this morning," Smith's attorney, Herbert Adams, said Monday.

"We had tried to get them [letters] to her over the weekend, but were unable to do so," Adams said.

In the hand-written letter, Smith said to the judge, "Please accept this sincere apology for my behavior in your courtroom on Friday. I regret it greatly, and it will not happen again."

Smith also said he would apply for assistance with the Georgia Bar Association for help with anger management. "I will do this within a week of my release," he said.

The incident occurred Friday during an extradition hearing for a defendant accused of a violation of probation.

In the contempt order, Benefield said Smith refused to approach the bench when she requested that he do so. She also said he repeatedly yelled and pointed at Clayton County Executive Assistant District Attorney Jason Green.

In the order, the judge said she warned Smith "at least two times, and possibly three," that he risked being jailed, if he did not calm down.