December 12, 2007

OR: badmouth your lawyer, get a new trial

Can't imagine how playing the tape of this defendant disparaging his court-appointed lawyer might affect the jury in a, you know, right to a fair trial kind of way:

"Defendant: If you and Jodie cannot get me a good lawyer, I'm going to go do my f*cking time, I'm going to sign my kids over to the State of Oregon, and you guys will never f*cking see me again...

-- I'm telling you what I'm going to do, and you can count on it. If I go to court with this f*cking attorney, I'm f*cked...

-- No. All I'm looking for is go find a lawyer. I don't give a f*ck if it's goddamn Mr. Magoo and on his first case. I'll pay for whatever it takes when I get out of here..."

Or at least the trial judge couldn't. The Oregon Supreme Court could, though:

"(I)t would be extremely difficult for him to advocate for the defendant in front of jurors who knew that defendant had 'called (him) every name in the book' and did not believe that he was competent..."

Trials go forward all the time when the public defenders know this - we just try not to share that knowledge with the jury.

Via Evidenceprof Blog and the ABA Journal.

(Good old Malheur County! You know, the DA there was #1 in my class. This issue must not have been on the final.)