from the Dearborn Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No.
15C01-1607-F5-049 The Honorable James D. Humphrey, Judge
Attorney for Appellant Leanna Weissmann Lawrenceburg,
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Chandra K. Hein Deputy Attorney General.
of the Case
Brandon Mockbee ("Mockbee") appeals the trial
court's finding that he was twice in direct criminal
contempt of the court and the trial court's sentence that
Mockbee serve one year in jail. Mockbee argues that his
behavior did not rise to the level of a contemptuous act
required for two findings of direct contempt and that the
trial court was not authorized to sentence him to more than
six months in jail for direct contempt without a jury trial.
We conclude that the trial court did not err in finding
Mockbee in direct contempt. However, because we conclude that
there was only one continuous act of contempt, we reverse the
trial court's finding of two acts of contempt and remand
to the trial court to enter a sentence of six months.
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with
raises three issues, which we consolidate and restate as
whether his behavior constituted a single episode of
In July 2016, the State charged Mockbee with two counts of
Level 5 felony burglary and one count of Level 5 felony
conspiracy to commit burglary, and it alleged that he was an
habitual offender. Mockbee was initially represented by
counsel, but he then chose to represent himself and had two
attorneys acting as standby counsel. Mockbee filed numerous
motions, most of which the trial court described as
"frivolous and repetitive." (Tr. 40). As a result,
the trial court held "almost 40 hours" of hearings
on his motions. (Tr. 40). Mockbee was removed from the
courtroom during those hearings "for disruptive and
threatening behavior" and was warned about his constant
unruly actions. (Tr. 39).
On November 29, 2016, the trial court held a final hearing on
Mockbee's pending motions, which included a motion to
suppress and a motion to sever. Mockbee represented himself,
and, during the hearing, he interrupted the judge, confused
the witnesses, and asked questions that had previously been
answered. During an attempt to play a video, Mockbee taunted
opposing counsel by stating, "Get the Discovery, quit
hiding it, we're going to trial on the 5th,
are you scared? I'm not." (Tr. 39). The court
interjected that it had "had enough" of
Mockbee's behavior and noted for the record that Mockbee
was "constantly interrupting the Court on a continuing
basis" and "ha[d] been warned by the Court
countless times for his disruptive behavior." (Tr. 39).
The trial court noted that Mockbee's behavior was "a
deliberate attempt to make a circus of our legal system"
and found that Mockbee had forfeited his right to
self-representation. (Tr. 41).
The hearing then continued with Mockbee's standby counsel
representing him. While Mockbee's counsel was speaking,
Mockbee "ma[de] some kind of gesture with his hand or
finger" to the trial court, and made "glaring,
smirking remarks" and "face gestures at the
Court." (Tr. 50). Mockbee again interrupted the trial
court and counsel during the proceeding and had to be
reminded that his counsel was now representing him. The trial
court warned Mockbee that he would be removed from the
courtroom if he continued his disruptive behavior. Mockbee
again interjected when the trial judge was speaking and was
ordered to leave the courtroom. Mockbee then said,
"[f]uck you, " as the officers removed him. (Tr.
51). The trial judge had the officers bring Mockbee to the
bench where the following exchange occurred:
MR. MOCKBEE: Go ahead; say what you got to say.
THE COURT: The Court is going to say -
MR. MOCKBEE: Say it please; that you're bias[ed],
you['re] unprejudicial [sic], you're scared to give
somebody a fair trial in this Courtroom! I filed a police
report against you and [defense counsel]. Please say it,
because all the remarks -
THE COURT: Mr. Mockbee -
MR. MOCKBEE: - you make as a Judge when you're not in
control and you're not in the situation - God have mercy
on your soul, sir!
THE COURT: Okay, take him out of here.
MR. MOCKBEE: Now contempt that, please!
THE COURT: Okay, you are found in direct contempt of this