Williams Hermesmeyer, an Assistant Public Defender, appeals the district court’s imposition of a $500 fine for violating Local Rule 57.8(b). We affirm.
In imposing sanctions, the district court relied on its finding that Hermesmeyer had violated a professional rule, rather than on its inherent power to discipline parties appearing before it.
“It is well settled that in order for a federal court to sanction an attorney under its inherent powers, it must make a specific finding that the attorney acted in bad faith.”
This circuit has declined, however, to require a finding of bad faith if a district court sanctions an attorney for violating one of the district court’s local rules.
We again decline to impose that requirement here. Under Local Criminal Rule 57.8(b), a judge may take disciplinary action against a member of the bar for “conduct unbecoming a member of the bar” and for “failure to comply with any rule or order of the court.”
Although “conduct unbecoming a member of the bar” is not defined in the Local Rules, the Supreme Court has interpreted the same language, as used in Federal Rule of 7 See Brown, 72 F.3d at 27 n.2 & 29 (concluding that the district court principally relied on a violation of the professional rules in imposing sanctions, even though the court referenced its inherent power to do so in its ruling).
We recognize that the district courtinitially “consider[ed] [Hermesmeyer] in civil contempt of court, and also . . . in violation ofone of the local rules.” However, based on the district court’s subsequent statements, it isclear that Hermesmeyer was sanctioned for violation of the Local Rule and not held in civil contempt.
Appellate Procedure 46, to mean “conduct contrary to professional standards that shows an unfitness to discharge continuing obligations to clients or the courts, or conduct inimical to the administration of justice.”
Failure to answer a court’s question can constitute failure to comply with an order of the court.
We conclude that Hermesmeyer’s conduct at the sentencing hearing violated the Local Rule.