in the Court of Appeals 7 June 2018.
by defendant from order entered 6 June 2017 by Judge Robert
F. Floyd, Jr. in Robeson County No. 16CRS2457 Superior Court.
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Kathryn H. Shields, for the State.
Law PLLC, by Jason Christopher Yoder, for
6, 2017, William Oscar Baker ("Defendant") was held
in criminal contempt and sentenced to thirty days in jail in
Robeson County Superior Court. Defendant appeals, arguing the
trial court erred in holding him in criminal contempt and
entering a civil judgment against him for reimbursement of
court appointed attorney fees. We affirm the part of the
trial court's order for criminal contempt, but vacate the
portion assessing attorney's fees and remand for a new
hearing on that issue.
and Procedural Background
September 28, 2016, the matter of State v. McCormick
("the trial") was heard in Robeson County Superior
Court in. Defendant, McCormick's cousin, was sitting in
the audience. During the trial, an exchange occurred between
a witness and Defendant that interrupted the State's
direct examination of that witness. As a result of this
exchange, the trial court held a separate hearing outside the
presence of the jury to determine the cause of the
interruption. The witness testified that Defendant was
shaking his head and making a gun gesture at him while he was
on the witness stand. After this hearing, the trial court
ordered Defendant to show cause for the interruption.
6, 2017, the trial court held a hearing on the order to show
cause. The State introduced two transcripts into evidence.
The first transcript was a one-page excerpt taken from the
testimony of the witness during the trial. The second
transcript reflected the additional interview with the
witness taken after testimony was over in the trial.
Defendant objected to the transcripts as hearsay evidence,
and the trial court stated that it would receive the
transcripts into evidence for the limited purpose of
"setting forth the circumstances in which the inquiry
and the allegations of the contemptuous act [were]
State subsequently called three witnesses to testify to the
events that occurred in the courtroom on September 28, 2016.
The evidence presented tended to show that the witness became
agitated on the stand and spoke to Defendant who was sitting
in the courtroom behind the defense table. The witness told
Defendant to stop shaking his head. Defendant also made a gun
gesture with his hand and mouthed incomprehensible words
towards the witness. The Assistant District Attorney was
present during the trial, and testified to the following at
the show cause hearing:
[Defendant] came in. I saw him move back to the second row,
and then I could hear him talk-he was mumbling something. I
couldn't make out what. And then I noticed that the
witness . . . was looking off in that direction, and it
attracted my attention to [Defendant]. And I saw him nodding
his head. It looked like he was mouthing something to the
witness. Then I saw him make a gun with his hand and sort of
put it up like this while he was gesturing and nodding his
head towards [the witness].
. . . .
I saw him nodding his head and gesturing with his hands. And
at one point-so [he] made what would look like a gun with his
hand while he was-it looked like he was addressing [the
witness] who was testifying.
also testified at the hearing, acknowledging that he sat in
the second row during the trial on September 28, 2016.
Defendant testified that he did not make any gesture, but
stated that he was twisting his dreadlocks and talking to
McCormick's father during the ...