Washington lawyer and former judicial officer George Crawford was released from jail after appearing yesterday afternoon before District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson.
Crawford was held in contempt for failing to pay court-ordered sanctions in a civil lawsuit over unpaid loans. Jackson released him yesterday but warned he would send him back to jail if Crawford didn't make certain monthly payments or pay the full $123,000 in sanctions within the next six months.
Crawford, a member of the D.C. Bar since 1980 with no disciplinary history, was one of several defendants sued over unpaid loans. After failing to follow court orders, he was hit with $30,000 in sanctions. He was sent to jail for the first time in December for failing to pay those sanctions. Crawford, however, was released shortly after. He then faced another $123,000 in sanctions and was jailed again on April 15 for not paying.
After hearing from the parties for almost two hours, Jackson said he would release Crawford in exchange for him paying $2,500 a month out of his civil service pension fund beginning in June. To avoid going back to jail, Jackson said Crawford will also have to pay the balance of the sanctions within the next six months.
Stephen Neal of DiMuroGinsburg in Alexandria, Va., lead counsel for the plaintiff, objected to the payment plan, saying it was already been tried in the past and failed. He said Jackson’s proposition was “a good start”, but he did not think it was sufficient. He declined to comment after the hearing.
“I think he—Jackson—has made the right decision,” Crawford’s attorney, solo practitioner Leonard Long Jr., said after the hearing. Long declined to comment further.
Crawford was the chief administrative law judge for the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services until he was fired in late December. Jackson chastised Crawford in the past for his noncompliance with court orders, noting the fact that he is a lawyer and former judicial officer.
“If you miss a payment, I will lock you back up,” Jackson told Crawford at the hearing Thursday.
Jackson scheduled another hearing for December 12.