Odd and ends 4/4/04

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A man who e-mailed a note to a federal judge that included a curse word will not be punished after he apologized to the judge in court.

U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley sent a U.S. marshal to Robert Dalton's suburban Westerville home with an order demanding he appear in court.

Dalton, 41, sent an e-mail that included the swear word to Marbley on March 17 in an objection to his handling of a class-action suit.

In court, Marbley said Dalton's other criticism was fine.

"As an articulate man, you could have found another way to express yourself," Marbley told Dalton in court on Wednesday.

Dalton then said he'd like to take the word back. "In retrospect, I could have used other creative words to express the strong sentiment I have," he said.

That ended the matter. Marbley did not pursue a criminal contempt charge that carries up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Dalton was criticizing a $21.8 million settlement approved by Marbley involving nearly 123,000 customers of an auto dealer and its used car affiliate.

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