Oakland County Circuit Judge Leo Bowman Sends Man Sick With Pneumonia To Jail For Being Late To Court

It is fairly common knowledge that if you have a court date, you are expected to show up on time for that date. In a criminal case, you are personally required to be present for most all hearings. In a civil case, the requirement to be personally present is typically relaxed, and attorneys routinely appear on their client’s behalf for many court proceedings. If any party is unable to make it to court, then the court usually allows for absences due to good reasons like sickness or other unavoidable issues. In the present case, Oakland County Ciruit Court Judge Leo Bowman decided that contagious pneumonia was not reason enough for a man in his court to miss a scheduled court date on a civil matter.

Original Case Details

Howard Baum ended up in Bowman’s court over a money situation dispute where Baum lent over $1 million to some extended family and the money has not since been paid back to Baum’s satisfaction. This case has taken several years, and Baum has never been late, nor does he have any criminal record whatsoever. On this date Baum was scheduled to appear in front of Bowman for a hearing related to this case. Baum had been battling flu-like symptoms for months and on this day ended up at Lake Urgent Care where he was diagnosed with pneumonia that was contagious to others. He was advised by doctors to avoid contact with others until completion of a five-day course of antibiotics. The report ended with the doctor stating that “he is at risk for spreading his illness.”

The Danger Of Incarcerating A Sick Person

With the worldwide crisis we are currently facing related to coronavirus covid-19, the dangers are obvious in relation to the spread of disease and sickness when people are in close contact with each other. People that are incarcerated are in an even more vulnerable position because they are truly unable to be away from others who may be sick. This danger also extends to all jail staffers, where they could catch something from an inmate or could be the cause of why inmates themselves get sick in the first place. Judge Bowman’s decision to jail this man was apparently based on his belief that the man was somehow attempting to flout the rules of court.

Defense Attorneys Demand Bowman’s Recusal

Judge Bowman originally required Baum to be in his court at his scheduled court time of 11am on the day in question. Baum’s attorneys informed the judge that their client was at Lake Urgent Care suffering from flu-like symptoms. Bowman first stated that he would issue a bench warrant and jail Baum if he did not appear for his 11am court time, and then agreed to allow him to appear by 3pm. Baum appeared at 3:04pm, vomited twice during the court proceeding into a wastebasket in the courtroom and was still held in criminal contempt by Judge Bowman. He was then taken into custody and lodged at the Oakland County Jail. During the hearing where Baum’s attorneys pleaded for an adjournment due to the sickness, Judge Bowman asked one of Baum’s attorneys “are you a doctor?” Baum’s have since demanded the recusal of Judge Bowman from Baum’s case.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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