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Attorney jailed after being late to court

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- A Tulsa defense attorney's tardiness resulted in him spending a morning in jail.

John Mack Butler arrived 45 minutes late Thursday for the start of a 4-year-old drug case, and as a result Muskogee County District Judge Mike Norman cited him for contempt of court.

Norman wouldn't comment about his decision. He opted to pull out of the case and gave Butler until Friday to decide on a new judge. "It's Mr. Butler's call on who he'd like," Norman said.

Butler was released Thursday afternoon on $500 bail and also took himself off the drug case.

Norman, prosecutors and the two defendants were in the courtroom and waited 45 minutes for Butler to show up for the drug-possession trial, witnesses said.

Although Butler reportedly had a cell phone in his car, he did not call court officials to let them know he would be late.

Butler said he didn't think he would have to.

"I don't understand this today," he said. "It usually takes 45 minutes to get jurors checked in and call the docket."

He said he also had to deal with car problems and traffic delays to get to Muskogee from Tulsa.
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