Well, what have we here? Let’s say you’re handling a major criminal case. Big time. Huge. Death penalty case. And let’s say that your representation is…less than stellar, largely because you manage to miss nearly everything that you should have done to represent your client, including failing to present an alibi defense and not knowing how to trace cellphone calls that might have put your client elsewhere at the time of the murder. Instead, you offer the rather unusual defense that your client would have been way better at killing people and therefore did not kill anyone, QED, ipso facto, thank you, goodnight.
[Attorney Ira Dennis] Hawver […] argued his client, a professional drug dealer, wouldn’t have left the third woman alive to identify him and wouldn’t have needed to fire so many shots to kill the other two women.
Ooh ooh ooh! And then let’s say you decide that the best way to resolve this is to get your client to sign a piece of paper absolving you of any disciplinary action, because that isn’t shady at all!
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.
Hawver wore a powdered wig, 18th century suit and long white stockings as he argued that the First Amendment protected his unusual defense of a capital murder client.
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.