TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Supreme Court has sided with a former state senator in a contempt case that began with a divorce dispute over a dog.
The justices were asked to decide whether Republican ex-Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla of Miami should be held in direct or indirect contempt for failing to appear in court to explain why he wouldn't turn over a dog to his wife in a divorce. Direct contempt is generally applied when someone openly defies a judge in court, rather than a failure to appear.
The Supreme Court decided Thursday the ex-senator should be held in indirect contempt, overturning a lower court's decision. The justices clarified that failure to appear in court should always be treated as indirect contempt, which allows a hearing for a person to explain.