Attorney Jailed for Contempt of Court

In an situation more common in Hollywood hokum than in real-life courthouses, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Conen stopped a trial and sent an attorney to jail for contempt of court Friday.

Michael W. Schnake, a licensed Wisconsin attorney since 1989, was ordered to report to the House of Correction for a one-day sentence Sept. 17 after he repeatedly asked questions Conen had ordered him not to while in front of the jury.

Schnake was state-appointed to represent Otis G. Mattox on felony charges from a non-fatal stabbing incident, when the events unfolded. . . .

[S]chnake was questioning a police officer on the witness stand about his personal background and work disciplinary history, questions Conen had said were inappropriate.

Schnake persisted in the line of questioning, so Conen stopped the trial and ordered him to jail for two days, beginning that night. Later Friday, Conen reduced the term to one day and postponed the sentence one week.

Details here from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.