Attorney sanctioned for pattern of disrespect and inappropriate statements
Robert Francis Ponte represented himself in a Washtenaw Circuit Court case. He filed repeated vexatious motions, made disrespectful and contentious remarks about opposing counsel and the judge, and displayed belligerent disregard for the rules of civil procedure. Eventually the trial court sanctioned him and he appealed to the Court of Appeals. The latter court upheld the lower court's sanctions and noted that the court had actually exercised unusual patience with the Defendant's misbehavior. The Court also pointed out that there is a strong presumption of impartiality which a litigant must overcome to disqualify a judge, and to succeed the litigant most show more than dissatisfaction with the court's rulings.