An ATL reader sent along this motion, asking us:
Can you get to the bottom of whether this is a hoax? I assume it is, given how ridiculous the motion and response are. On the other hand, it’s Texas.
It’s a challenge to be an out-of-state attorney in some courts. It may be even more difficult to be an out-of-country attorney.
Here’s the motion from the District Court of Travis County, Texas:
The prosecutor is British (and a Duke Law ’02 grad). His bloody funny response explains that he has already acceded to one of the Defendant’s concerns by wearing cowboy boots, but will not be dropping his accent.
Here’s the prosecutor’s response (click to enlarge):
We spoke with Gene Anthes, the lawyer at Gunter & Bennett who drafted the motion to get state’s attorney to drop his accent. “Civil attorneys deal with each other on one case and usually never see each other again,” said Anthes, explaining in a phone interview that the motions were just jokes and not actually in the clerk’s file. “Criminal defense attorneys encounter the same prosecutors over and over again. The relationship is more cordial.”
The humourous pleadings were exchanged along with legitimate motions, but were not actually filed with the court. The British prosecutor, Mark Pryor, has a month-old blog, D.A. Confidential; he took the piss there.
None until now, in fact. Pryor explains on his blog:
I am an assistant district attorney in Texas. A former newspaper reporter, I still write but have moved into fiction. My novel, THE BOOKSELLER, will soon be on submission to publishers and is represented by Ann Collette of the Helen Rees Agency.
His blog is not fictional, though. He uses it to:
* let you know about upcoming trials every week
* discuss and link to all kinds of crime-related news
* talk about how the criminal justice system works in Texas
* poke fun at one dumb criminal every week
* include posts and links relating to crime in literature
To avoid losing his job, he does not talk about facts not in the public domain. And he doesn’t appear to talk about the people being tried. He wouldn’t want to get into the kind of trouble that public defender Kristine Ann Peshek encountered after discussing her clients on her blog.
Pryor doesn’t have his name on his blog, but the Austin American-Statesman recently had a lengthy profile about him and it:
Pryor consulted his boss, Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, before he began publishing the blog. Lehmberg recalled that she told him, “I thought it was intriguing, but obviously I wanted him to be very, very careful.”
Prosecutors generally decline to discuss evidence in their cases outside of court to avoid improperly influencing potential jurors, and Lehmberg said her main concern was that Pryor not talk about specific cases.
Welcome to the legal blogosphere, D.A. Confidential. Good luck!