At Long Last...

I've had a chance to read the third installment of the $40 lawyer, that awful series in the St. Petersburg Floridian

Our PD Hero with Gun

Here's what jumped out at me: The consistently low expectations. The fact that crappy lawyering is not only accepted but seems to be misperceived as good. Take the following passage about the PD's first awful trial:

"He can't really deny his client exposed himself, so he casts the act as one of road rage, done not for sexual kicks but in retaliation for being flipped off. He invites jurors to consider whether dogs mount each other for sex or for dominance. He compares prosecutors, in their presentation of the evidence, to incompetent fast food clerks.

"You have received your Big Mac. You have received your supersize Coke. But where's the supersize fries?"

The jury deliberates just six minutes. It must be some kind of world record. Barely enough time for them to hustle into the little room, sit and vote. The Flasher is guilty as charged, one count of misdemeanor lewd and lascivious behavior.

No one looks surprised, not even the Flasher. He gets 30 days.

Michelle Florio, who has supervised Charley since he left the juvenile division, is impressed with the fight he put up. She knows right away whether a lawyer has the chops for trial work. This one does. She sees presence, fire.
"He has no fear," she says. "I truly believe he's going to be one of the great ones."

Are you kidding? One of the great ones? for asking couching reasonable doubt in terms of suupersize fries? For keeping a jury out for six minutes? And why the hell can't he argue that his client didn't do what they said he did? This is pathetic.


topsixrows said...

In the Republic of Florida EVERYTHING gets in on sex crimes.

They just started recognizing Crawford three months ago.

ACS said...

Sure, I thought the fries analogy (and the personal attack on the prosecutor) was very weak and ill-advised. Perhaps there could have been an argument against identity, but it sounded like this was a loser from the beginning because of all the (in my view) prejudicial evidence that came in about the client. My druthers would have been challenging the constitutionality (state and federal) of the rules allowing this admission. But it wasn't my trial.

Young lawyers need some encouragment and they have to learn by doing. At least his first trials are misdemeanor trials where little is on the line, versus many other southern states where attorneys are cutting their teeth when their clients are facing felonies or years in prison.

Nothing's worse than not only doing horribly at your first trial, but being exorcised for it. The fight of an attorney, and the desire to learn, is very important in my view, and it bodes well for his future clients. Here's hoping he gets better, then stays on and continues to improve.