VIDEO: Heated argument breaks out between attorneys in Tampa courtroom

Hillsborough County

News Channel 8 has exclusively obtained a copy of video that shows a heated confrontation between an assistant state attorney and a defense attorney in a Hillsborough County courtroom.

The video was recorded on April 4 in Courtroom 33 at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. 

The incident is between Assistant State Attorney Darrell Dirks and Tampa attorney Lily McCarty Gonzalez.

As Judge Barbara Twine Thomas exits the courtroom, things really heat up. Court was not in session at the time of the argument.

In several parts of the video, Dirks appears to scream in McCarty Gonzalez’s face and at times, appears to walk into her personal space.

He is seen pointing his finger, throwing his hands in the air and apparently berating McCarty Gonzalez.

It goes on for several minutes. The video does not include audio.

During the video, McCarty Gonzalez, who appears to be much smaller in stature, barely moves and watches the assistant state attorney go off.

Several minutes in, Dirks appears to leave the courtroom, only to return. At that point, he appears to continue to scream at the attorney.

There were at least two Hillsborough County deputies in the courtroom serving as bailiffs, but they are seen leaving during parts of the argument. Other attorneys look on in the courtroom. One woman appears to try and intervene at one point.

News Channel 8 has learned McCarty Gonzalez filed a motion to have Dirks removed from a case involving her client, Demetrius L. Eddie.

In the motion, McCarty Gonzales writes “At 11 minutes and 07 seconds into the video, while the co-Defendant was still in the courtroom, Mr. Dirks yells ’cause he’s a snitch,’ referring to Mr. Eddie. Mr. Dirks continued to yell that Mr. Eddie was going to ‘snitch on [the co-Defendant].'”

The motion continues, “Mr. Dirks intentionally called Mr. Eddie a snitch in an open courtroom, in the presence of the co-Defendant, Johayward Bradshaw, in violation of Fla. Stat. § 914.28 ‘Rachel’s Law’ and with intent to cause harm to Mr. Eddie.”

McCarty Gonzalez also summarizes the behavior by the assistant state attorney in the motion: “Mr. Dirks continued to berate defense counsel, at which point Mr. Dirks behavior escalated to him physically bullying and intimidating defense counsel in addition to demeaning her intelligence and name calling. Mr. Dirks began to leave the courtroom, however, he came back and re-engaged in his physical intimidation with no provocation from defense counsel, placing defense counsel in fear.”

“I found it really unacceptable that he got into Ms. McCarty’s personal space,” said prominent Tampa attorney Lyann Goudie.

Goudie has worked on cases with Dirks for nearly two decades.

“For 18 years he has been known, not every time, pretty commonly, to react in this manner,” she said.

State Attorney Andrew Warren sent the following statement to News Channel 8: 

“I was aware of the situation shortly after it occurred and spoke with both attorneys and the judge. We hold our prosecutors to an extremely high standard of professionalism and are disappointed any time an isolated incident detracts from the great work they do on behalf of the public.  And that’s exactly what I told the assistant state attorney involved.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

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