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Frequent Court Critic to Appear Before Utah Supreme Court

Frequent Court Critic to Appear Before Utah Supreme Court



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A 55-year-old man found in contempt by the Utah Supreme Court for harassing judges will return to the high court in May to discuss why he should not be held in further contempt.

However, this time Cliff Panos will appear with a lawyer.

The Supreme Court heard Panos briefly Friday, then set May 11 as the new court date.

Panos previously served five days in jail and faces the possibility of 85 more days in connection with efforts to personally communicate with the justices.

During proceedings associated with a now-closed case in 3rd District Court, Panos is accused of showing up at judges' homes and repeatedly calling and writing them -- including some letters taped to the windows of their houses.

At a hearing Friday with heavy security, Panos agreed to accept the representation of court-appointed attorney James Valdez. Panos previously tried to represent himself.

"We're prepared to order a psychiatric/psychological evaluation if necessary," Supreme Court Justice Michael Wilkins told Valdez. "If there are other adults in Mr. Panos' life who could intervene, we would ask you to consider that. If there are medical conditions -- head trauma or medication -- we would ask you to consider that."

Wilkins also ordered Panos not to contact any Supreme Court justice, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the 3rd District Court or any judge or former judge in Utah without going through his lawyer.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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