On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hunterdon County.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 29, 2008
Before Judges Payne and Waugh.
Defendant Anderson Harkov, a member of the New Jersey Bar and a deputy public defender, appeals an August 21, 2007, order finding him in contempt of court and sanctioning him in the amount of $100.00, all pursuant to Rule 1:10-1. Having reviewed the matter de novo, we find that there was no contempt of court and vacate the order of contempt, as well as the related monetary sanction.
On August 17, 2007, Harkov was a deputy public defender assigned to the courtroom of a criminal part judge sitting in Hunterdon County. Harkov was representing clients in connection with bail and sentencing matters. He represented a client who had been admitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) following indictment on two counts of forgery. She was subsequently terminated from that program. She was then arrested on a bench warrant for failure to appear at a status conference scheduled following her termination from PTI.
Following her subsequent release on bail in the amount of $5,000, with ten percent payable, she was again arrested for failure to appear. She was before the court on August 17, 2007, for determination of her bail.
Harkov represented to the trial court that the reason for his client's termination from PTI was her non-appearance for a counseling appointment. He argued that she did not present a risk of flight and requested that she be released on her own recognizance to "the custody of her parents," who were present in court. After questioning defendant, the trial judge set bail at "$20,000 cash or bond, no ten percent."
Shortly after that client's matter was completed, Harkov appeared before the judge with another client. The following exchange took place:
HARKOV: Sir, Anderson D. Harkov for Mr. Richard. Your honor, with all due respect, I'm wondering whether it will be more appropriate to adjourn the sentencing, since Your Honor seems to have some problem with me today.
HARKOV: I don't know, Judge. I'm not used to first offenders with third degree charges getting 20,000, no 10 percent bails, especially when they've ...