Today, I found an honest lawyer:
“I Am Incompetent!” Lawyer Argues Unnecessarily
Some nine years ago, Kansas barrister Dennis Hawver represented one Phillip Cheatham in a case that didn’t go especially well for the defendant. Which is kind of understating things, when you consider that Phil got not only a death sentence but a number of long jail terms just in case. That’s not entirely bad, because hey – court proceedings aren’t generally a toss-up: O.J. won, the prosecution lost. So the fact that Hawver’s client lost wouldn’t ordinarily be a significant blemish on his record. However, there’s the little matter of his performance during the penalty phase:
The main issue was whether Hawver violated Rule 1.1, requiring basic competence. He wanted to focus on the guilt phase (“I don’t remember that much about the penalty phase,” he admitted), but the justices didn’t. “Your client didn’t instruct you,” one asked, “to tell the jury in the penalty phase—the jury that had just convicted Mr. Cheatham beyond a reasonable doubt of two homicides—he didn’t tell you to tell the jury that whoever killed these people should get the death penalty,” did he? “No,” Hawver admitted, “that was my idea.” He believes his client is innocent, you see. Which is fine—it could even be true—but this is just not a great penalty-phase argument.
Well, at least that’s all cleared up. No word on whether or not he’s been disbarred as yet. Oh, and he’s suing the state Supreme Court. Just to be on the safe side.