A US District Judge ruled last week that a lawyer’s catnapping during court proceedings violated his client’s Sixth Amendment right.
The defendant, James Nassida, owned Century Three Home Equity and was on trial for mortgage fraud. Several members of the jury told the judge they saw the lawyer, Stanton Levinson, sleeping during the week-long trial.
A few jurors said it was only once or twice, while other jurors said it was more often. The jurors agreed the naps were brief. The lawyer blamed his sleepiness on antihistamines he said he was taking. He admitted to falling asleep several times during the trial and said he did not know how long he napped. He agreed to support his client’s request for a mistrial because of the sleeping.
The judge granted the defendant a new trial, and the defendant has a new lawyer.