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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
For more information email: tflynn@clarkstonlegal.com

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kwame Blames the Lawyer

We here at this Blog have been there.  You put your heart and soul into a case that goes to trial, giving it everything you've got, sometimes putting your reputation on the line; working into the night and on weekends to prepare.  Getting "paid-by-the-hour" for such ventures is rare, in fact, you rarely ever post all those hours on the peg board at the office. 

Sometimes, as in the case of Kwame Kilpatrick's lawyer, James Thomas, it's a court-appointed gig with a low flat fee.  And when the jury does not buy-into your client's defense, the client often views the guilty verdict as your fault.

Apparently, Kwame has not just been sitting idly in his cell in Milan.  In a recent post-verdict motion for a new trial filed with federal judge Nancy Edmunds, the former Detroit Mayor revealed that he filed a grievance against Mr. Thomas with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission [which apparently already has been dismissed], and again raised claims of "ineffective assistance of counsel" in violation of Hizhonor's Sixth Amendment rights.

Well, as one of the tax-payers that paid for that defense, and as a criminal defense lawyer myself, I cannot say that I am surprised.  This is a common tactic when an accused gets convicted in a case where the defendant is adamant about his innocence and ignores both the facts and the reality of his situation, as Kwame has done throughout his tortured proceedings.

The exact same scenario is unfolding out in Las Vegas where O.J. Simpson has also raised a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel against his long-time lawyer, Yale Galanter.  Simpson's case is in the process of exhausting his state law remedies so that he can proceed with a Habeas Corpus petition in federal court.

We here at this Blog certainly champion the accused's constitutional rights; those rights include raising constitutional issues post-trial, and testing one's conviction in the appellate courts.  Most often, those rights come at the tax-payers expense.

And if you've been practicing criminal defense long enough, eventually, you are going to get the blame for a client that goes down in flames.  My veteran legal assistant has a poster in her office for just such an occasion: "Stay Calm and Carry On."

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