“You Operated As If Your Law License Was A License To Steal.”


That’s Collier County Judge Mike Carr, as he threw Miami sole practitioner Jonathan S. Schwartz in jail:

A Collier County judge threw a Miami attorney in county jail for 10 days Monday after finding him guilty of contempt for twice not appearing in court and not filing a motion to dismiss a bench warrant seeking his client’s arrest.

“You operated as if your law license was a license to steal,” County Judge Mike Carr told Jonathan S. Schwartz, 49, of Miami, after Schwartz finished his testimony. “You took his $800, wanted more and left him at the mercy of the court.”

After hearing from three other attorneys — Lee Carney, Diane Gonzalez and Justin Weisberg — and Schwartz’s legal secretary, who all testified for the defense, Carr found Schwartz guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced him to jail and six months of probation, with the condition he take a Florida Bar lawyer professionalism class. He also fined him $500.

“You took a signing fee and contracted for more and did absolutely nothing for your client,” Carr said during sentencing. “Even after a bench warrant was issued for your client, you left a bench warrant out there for more than a month. I can’t think of anything you did in this case that remotely represents your duty. … Court is just a convenience for you to collect money.”

Carr said had it not been for attorney Shannon McFee of Naples, who stepped in without charge to negotiate a plea bargain for Schwartz’s client, the client would have been jailed. Instead, Diogenes Alicea Galarza, 42, of North Miami, pleaded no contest, was fined $150 and an adjudication of guilt was withheld on a charge of driving without a valid license.

Schwartz jumped up and asked for a supersedeas bond, which would allow him to remain free and delay sentencing. But Carr cut him off with a curt, “Denied.”

Schwartz’s defense attorneys, Bob Allen and John Musca, then asked to speak with Carr at a sidebar, but after a few words at the bench, Carr said loudly, “I said, ‘denied.’ ”

Schwartz was then fingerprinted and led off by a bailiff. Both Allen and Musca declined comment afterward.

Wow, that is pretty hard-core. Does anyone think a Miami judge would do something similar? If you know more about this case please let me know.