Minnesota Lawyer Convicted of Contempt In Skipping First Day of Trial To Go To Paris

We recently saw the relatively light treatment given a Wisconsin juror who walked out of deliberations in a major criminal case to enjoy a vacation in Cancun. The same does not appear to hold true for lawyers who are accused of skipping out on trials, it appears. Lawyer M. Tayari Garrett was convicted of misdemeanor contempt for skipping a trial last year to attend her brother’s wedding in Paris. She was given one year probation and a $1000 fine.


Garrett, who divides her time between Texas and Minnesota, was convicted of intentionally skipping a mortgage fraud trial. Garrett and Judge William Howard had various confrontations in the case, and Garrett sought his removal. She later accused Howard and the prosecutors of colluding to create evidence against her in the contempt case.

Garrett asked Howard to change her client’s trial date. He refused to do so and Garrett missed the first day of the trial to attend the wedding in Paris.

Garrett, 37, is reportedly an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and an adjunct writing instructor at William Mitchell College of Law. I was unable to confirm the positions at the website of either school where her name does not appear with the adjuncts.

Efay Martin-Mahuru was accused of helping several people in a $2.8 million mortgage fraud scheme in Minnesota. The trial was set for May 2, 2011. Garrett asked Howard for continuances in March and April. Notably, five days before Howard denied the April motion, Garrett bought her airline ticket to France.

Garrett however insisted that she was hospitalized the day before trial and her travel after her hospitalization was “immaterial.”

Source: Star Tribune as first seen on ABA Journal

45 thoughts on “Minnesota Lawyer Convicted of Contempt In Skipping First Day of Trial To Go To Paris”

  1. Tonight’s debate on Democracy Now! included comments from Jill Stein and another candidate, I think it’s Rocky Anderson.

    As for a threshold for entry in the debates, the one Democracy Now! uses seems reasonable. The two candidates included are on enough ballots to theoretically win the electoral vote. This means that the two candidates have fairly wide spread support.

    I’m not sure what the ballot for NYS looks like this year but the ballot order is based on the number of votes the gubernatorial candidate of the respective parties received in the last gubernatorial election.

    In NYS the only way a party can get on the ballot as a “regular” party is by getting at least 50,000 votes for their gubernatorial candidate. Otherwise, statewide candidates (pres, gov, senate) need to get 15,000 signatures in a short period of time after the R and D get their much fewer signatures.

    Other states have other procedures. Check out Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News website for more info..

  2. I am taking my step…. And to be honest lots more are as well….
    I heard an interesting stat today….. 80 per cent of the undecided voters are females with children at home……

  3. Swarthmore mom, AY, and Gene H.-

    A wise man said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

    The Republican and Democratic parties were once marginal parties formed to replace irrelevant parties that were not serving the people. Evolution has not ended. I probably won’t be around when the the two corporate parties expire, but their rusting facades are becoming clearly visible to those who look.

  4. HenMan gets the double score, AY. He’s a character with character. At least that’s what the bobcats say between maulings.

  5. That’s nice when folks recognize folks for characters…. Then there’s the foie de gras….

  6. HenMan,

    I was just telling someone the other day that hanging around bobcats builds character.

    Thanks for proving that point once again.

  7. HenMan,

    Your my hero…. Although it won’t make a difference, I still plan on voting for anyone but an official party … There is one democrat I do think deserves office and that is Wendy Davis….. But it a state senator race…. She is democrat….and has to my knowledge ran an stand up campaign….not responding to the negative attack ads by her opponent….

  8. Henman, The fact is none of the existing third parties even remotely have their acts together. An “independent” is going to be the next senator from Maine as Bernie Sanders is the “independent” senator from Vermont. Sanders caucuses with dems and probably so will King.

  9. You and I and millions of other Americans could have saved women’s healthcare, restored civil liberties in America, ended the Iraq and Afghanistan wars January 21st, 2009, closed Guantanamo, tried the alleged terrorists in civilian courts in the United States, broken up the banks that destroyed the economy, jailed the criminals who sold Americans fraudulent motgages, turned Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al over to international courts for war crimes trials, and done many other useful things by voting for someone other than Barack Obama or John McCain.

    This is why we need more than 2 political parties.

    Enjoy the “Presidential Debate” tonight- but keep a barf bag handy.

  10. HenMan Too bad!! You could have helped save women’s healthcare as I think you are in a swing state. 🙁

  11. Raff,

    It appears that this judge had an axe to grind…..She did seek his removal….. I hope he did not sentence her as well…..

  12. Swarthmore mom-

    I hope your pal, President Obama, becomes a real “Professor of Constitutional Law” sometime before he finishes his second term, so that my 2008 vote will not have been in vain! He has already forfeited my 2012 vote.

  13. HenMan i hope the libertarian does well in Colorado and the constitution party does very well in Virginia.;)

  14. Swarthmore mom-

    In Wisconsin, we have a choice of 7 President/Vice President candidates listed in this order (don’t ask me how the order was determined!?!):

    Republican
    Democratic
    Constitution
    Libertarian
    Party for Socialism and Liberation
    Socialist Equality Party
    Green Party
    (Plus Write-In)

    We have more than two opinions in the good ol’ USA. I think all of them have a right to be heard. Unless I’m mistaken, they still count votes on Nov. 6, not dollars. (Please forgive me for ignoring the Diebold voting machines- I’m such an idealist!)

  15. HenMan, To tell you the truth I am more concerned about the republican effort to tinker with the vote than the inclusion of a third party candidate in the debates this year. Work on it for 2016.

  16. nick, What if there is about ten parties? The klan and the nazi’s would probably run someone if they thought they were getting free time. So then how do you get it down to five. Sounds totally unmanageable to me.

  17. HenMan, I love your fight, no bullsh!t. May I be your Sancho Panza?

    SWM, I think the threshold should be zero as long as the # of candidates is 5 or lower. If it gets out of hand w/ the number of candidates, then there should be a low threshold that includes a maximum of 5 debators.

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