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Former judge found guilty of contempt

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A former Columbus judge was found guilty of contempt of court during a Wednesday hearing in Bartholomew Circuit Court.

Roderick D. McGillivray, 48, 4065 N. Riverside Drive, was ordered released after spending two days in the Bartholomew County Jail.

Bartholomew Circuit Judge Stephen Heimann found McGillivray guilty after a 22-minute hearing Wednesday.

Heimann ordered McGillivray to serve 60 additional days in jail but then suspended the sentence.

The former judge, who resigned last summer as legal counsel for the Bartholomew County Council, was shackled and wearing an orange jail jump suit when he appeared before Heimann on Wednesday.

McGillivray’s attorney, Sean Thomasson, asked Heimann to release the former judge on his own recognizance.

Heimann said McGillivray should post bond. Thomasson said neither McGillivray nor his wife, Columbus physician Katrina McGillivray, had the necessary $2,500 in cash.

McGillivray, who served as Bartholomew County Superior Court 2 judge from 2003 to 2008, was arrested

Monday afternoon for failure to appear at an Aug. 14 hearing before Heimann.

The hearing was to allow McGillivray to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court for missing previous court dates for his clients.

Heimann said McGillivray missed a sentencing hearing for convicted drug dealer Calvin Watkins in February.

Heimann declared McGillivray in contempt of court the following month for what the judge described as “an ongoing problem of missing court hearings.”

McGillivray told the court he planned to close his law practice and Heimann did not order any sanctions at that time.

McGillivray missed a hearing May 27 on behalf of Angel Sanders, Heimann said.

He gave McGillivray two options: Either stop accepting new clients or provide a telephone number and office location to each of his current clients, Heimann said Wednesday.

McGillivray agreed to distribute contact information as the judge ordered. But when McGillivray failed to show up for a July 17 hearing, defendant Skyler A. Fields said he didn’t receive his lawyer’s phone number or office location, Heimann said.

Heimann also said that while McGillivray was missing numerous hearings for existing clients, he was still making court appearances representing new clients.

“This court has been inundated with phone calls from your clients who said they can’t get hold of you,” Heimann said to McGillivray.

“My staff has expended a lot of time and effort trying to protect your clients from your failures to fulfill your responsibilities.”

McGillivray said that although he had three different telephone numbers for Fields, he was unable to reach him.

He also told Heimann that while he had sent a letter to Fields with the required information, he failed to send it through certified mail, so he had no proof his client received the correspondence.

The attorney also said he misread the date for his own hearing while preparing for a trip, and mistakenly believed it was scheduled for “August 20-something.”

In order to avoid being sent to jail for two months, McGillivray was ordered to comply with the following instructions from Heimann:

Notify all clients that McGillivray had surrendered his law license July 24.

Let all current and potential clients know he can no longer represent them.

Arrange for all files on current cases to be picked up by McGillivray’s former clients.

Send copies of all letters pertaining to defendants in Heimann’s court within seven days of mailing them.

Make sure all letters are sent by certified mail.

A status hearing to determine whether McGillivray has complied with the judge’s order has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 23.

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