Gavel handcuffs police arrest courts

OGDEN — A woman who insulted a judge in a court hearing on charges of attacking police officers was told Thursday she must serve a full 30-day jail sentence for contempt of court.

Brittany Renee Lefler, 28, appeared before Judge Michael DiReda in a video hearing for the first time since an outburst against the judge May 27. She is in the Weber County Jail, arrested June 4 after DiReda issued a no-bail warrant upon finding her in contempt of court.

The purpose of Thursday’s hearing was to arrange legal representation for Lefler, whose original attorney dropped out of the case after the contempt incident. Lefler said she does not have a new attorney and her husband is trying to arrange help for her.

She asked DiReda to let her out of jail, saying she is not doing well behind bars. He said he would not lift the 30-day sentence, telling Lefler, “This is what happens when you call a judge a ‘punk a-- b----.’”

“I was in panic mode,” Lefler said, and apologized to DiReda for the belligerence and name-calling.

She repeated her appeals to go free several times. “This is a sentence,” DiReda responded, a penalty not allowing release on bail. “You’re serving 30 days for contempt. You’re going to do the 30 days.”

He set another hearing for June 17 to give Lefler time to arrange representation. She relented with her complaints but told DiReda she still challenged her incarceration.

Lefler’s trouble started March 8, when Harrisville police answered a report of a domestic violence incident. They met a man outside who said Lefler had punched him four or five times in the face with a closed fist.

An officer got permission from the man to enter the home to talk to Lefler. He said she answered from further inside the home, saying there would be “problems” if police didn’t leave.

Then Lefler emerged into a hallway and allegedly surged toward an officer, screaming and thrusting her arm toward him, a police probable cause statement said.

The officer said in the affidavit that he grabbed her arm and spun her around in an effort to get her into handcuffs, and she allegedly bit him on the wrist.

Officers took her to the ground as she continued to fight, the affidavit said. As a second officer was attempting to handcuff her, Lefler allegedly clawed at him, leaving bleeding wounds on his hands.

Police took her outside, but she continued to struggle and curse at them, and once in the suspect cage in the back of a police car, she repeatedly banged her head on the door.

The Weber County Attorney’s Office charged her with third-degree felony assault by a prisoner and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence assault, assault against a police officer and interference with an arresting officer.

Harrisville officers asked that she be held without bail because on the way to the jail March 8 she allegedly made threatening statements about her husband and said it would be “unsafe” for officers to come near her home again. They also said she has access to a firearm. However, she was released from jail with a promise to appear in court.

Lefler’s attorney had worked out a plea bargain with prosecutors entering the May 27 hearing, but that was discarded after her tirade against the judge and the attorney resigned from the case.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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