“That’s crazy” gets contempt of court charge and 10 more days in jail
It looked to be a fairly routine day in Rappahannock County Circuit Court last Thursday — a short docket, no trials — until Kevin Lee Brown sassed Judge Herman A. Whisenant under his breath, earning Brown a serious rebuke and additional jail time on top of the re-imposition of a suspended sentence and an eight-month sentence he is currently serving for offenses in another jurisdiction.
In December 2016, Brown, 23, of Culpeper pleaded guilty to driving on a revoked or suspended license and was sentenced to six months in jail with three months suspended, and 12 months of supervised probation.
On April 7 of this year he violated his probation by driving once again on a revoked or suspended license. (Brown’s driving record shows that this was the second violation In Rappahannock after being charged last December. His record also shows several additional such charges in Culpeper.)
Although conceding the violation, Brown, dressed in a black and white jail jumpsuit, testified in his own defense that he had driven to get medications for his 4-year-old daughter who has heart problems.
His court-appointed attorney Kevin Gerrity further argued that Brown, who had “an unselfish reason for driving,” was not stopped for DUI or reckless driving, but for an expired inspection sticker.
“A medical emergency would be a defense [if this were the first violation],” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Art Goff, “But [Brown] has had two previous convictions for driving without a license.”
Whisenant agreed, revoking the previous suspended sentence and re-imposing the three months of jail time. He also denied Brown’s request for work release from jail.
As he walked back to his seat in the gallery, Brown muttered, “That’s crazy.” Whisenant, a former Marine known for being a no-nonsense judge, leaned over the bench and gestured forcefully for Brown to return.
“You come back here,” said Whisenant. “What did you say? What did you say? Never mind, I heard what you said.”
He then found Brown in contempt of court and imposed an additional 10 days of jail time.
What Whisenant didn’t see was Brown rolling his eyes as he turned his back on the judge.