2007_01_justice.jpgWhen a judge threatens you with contempt when you don't show up for your own client's trial, one would think you'd try to get into court to explain yourself. But after not showing up for client Paul Cortez's murder trial on Monday, attorney Laura Miranda still did not appear yesterday, even after Justice Carol Berkman threatened her with a $1,000 fine and/or contempt. So Berkman fined her $1,000, found her in contempt, and questioned her motives.

The NY Times reports that Berkman's had to deal with Miranda being "absent without leave" before. Miranda's excuse for not being in court: Needing to take care of her mother - who is in Puerto Rico. Berkman, who said she might arrest Miranda, said, "I have no reason to believe this is anything other than contemptuous... Well, I suppose we may as well adjourn this matter until tomorrow and see whether indeed she reappears."

Twenty five year old Cortez is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, 21 year old Catherine Woods, an aspiring dancer from Ohio who took to working as a stripper at Flashdancers to make money. Woods' father John, director of Ohio State's marching band, has been in NYC as a prosecution witness, but had planned to fly back home today. He told the Post, "It's just that, psychologically, you get ready for this to start - and we just want it to get started and get it over with."