Next time a judge gives you some great news, don’t say something stupid like “Thank God” or “Thank you Jesus.” This kind of unprotected speech can get you thrown in jail, as Junior Stowers just found out in Honolulu. As CBS News reports:
Junior Stowers raised his hands and exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus!” in court last month when he was acquitted by a jury of abusing his son.
But his joy was short-lived when Circuit Judge Patrick Border held him in contempt of court for the “outburst” and threw him in jail.
Stowers, 47, sat in the courtroom and a cellblock for about six hours until the judge granted him a hearing on the contempt charge and released him.
The judge at a July 7 hearing dropped the contempt charge, a petty misdemeanor that carries up to 30 days in jail.
Stowers couldn’t be reached for comment. But his attorney in the contempt case, Deputy Public Defender Susan Arnett, said he wasn’t treated fairly.
“I don’t think there’s anything about saying ‘Thank you, Jesus’ that rises to the level of contemptuous behavior in this case,” she told The Honolulu Advertiser.
When you want to express your gratitude in court, stick with safe and government-approved expressions, such as “Thank you, Darwin!” or “Praise senseless chance!” Even “Cool!” works.