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From our good friend and Wonker Emerita Lisa Needham, aka Snipy, we have this tale of a lawyer on the edge, kind of like the Jeffrey Tambor character in...And Justice For All, except instead of shaving his head and eating his lunch out on the ledge, this guy, one Ira Dennis Hawver Esquire JD, defended himself against disciplinary action by dressing up as Thomas Jefferson and explaining that the First Amendment guarantees your sacred right to give your client a really crappy defense.


It all started when Hawver was defending -- or at least hired to defend, which is different -- a guy in a death penalty case. Hawver decided against presenting an alibi defense, which was beyond his technical abilities because didn't know how cell phones work or how cellphone data could show the defendant wasn't at the murder scene. So instead, he decided to defend his client, a drug dealer, by arguing that he was such a ruthless guy that there was no way he'd have left one witness alive. Also that he could have killed two others with fewer shots, because he was that badass. And just to put the shithead icing on the incompetence case, Hawver asked the defendant to sign an agreement that "would release him from any disciplinary action," which maybe didn't look so great at Hawver's disbarment hearing before the Kansas Supreme Court.

And so Hawver went to the hearing dressed as Thomas Jefferson, because that makes every bit as much sense as everything else he'd done in the case.

We're just going to blockquote Lisa blockquoting the Topeka Capital-Journal here, because it is late in the day and we are tired and Lisa is so damn funny that we don't even want to try to top her anyway:

After you’ve piled up all this badness and your client’s conviction was overturned for ineffective assistance of counsel and the bar, understandably, thinks that perhaps you should not be a lawyer any longer, what should you do? Show up dressed like our nation’s third president, Founding Father, Declaration of Independence-drafter, and likely breeches-wearer, Thomas Jefferson, and explain that the Constitution protects you, of course [...]

Even the most baby of law students among you must be wondering how the First Amendment might shield you from being a terrible lawyer, because lord knows we are wondering that too. Here’s fair warning: his argument makes about as much sense as if you took your Con Law Liberties exam immediately after burying your face in a pile of angel dust.

The First Amendment protects his actions with his clients, and the Sixth Amendment protects the rights of his client, he said. [...]

“I am incompetent!” Hawver said, banging the lectern with his hand. “Anybody who thinks they are representing an innocent person and can’t convince a jury is incompetent or ineffective.”

Hawver said his constitutional rights and the rights of Cheatham are more important than the lawyer and defendant are individually.

“Our constitutional rights are being eroded, and I ask you to stop,” Hawver said, sitting down.

Needless to say, we will be watching carefully to see if this genius gets to keep lawyering. Is it terrible that we kind of hope he does, if only to see what other costumes he might bust out down the line? We’re terrible people.

What we are saying here is that we completely agree, and we are terrible people too, and further, we bet that if Mr. Hawver loses his law license, he could still be a big hit at tea party rallies or maybe Comic-Con. Also, we are for damned sure adding Bitter Lawyer to our RSS feed. Hi, Lisa! Come back and make buttsechs jokes for us now and then, will ya? You won't even have to wear the H.L. Mencken costume, OK?

[Topeka Capitol-Journal and ABA Journal via Bitter Lawyer / Image Credit: Topeka Capitol-Journal]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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