Crime, Lawyer of the Day, Violence

A Defense Lawyer Who’s Not Afraid of a Fight

Henry Hams

Yesterday’s Lawyer of the Day was a public defender who could use a little defending himself — after he allegedly choked a prosecutor. Inside a courthouse, of all places.

The story is even better than we first reported. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The men went downstairs to the first floor, where [public defender Henry] Hams allegedly lashed out at the prosecutor outside a snack shop, authorities said.

At some point, Hams got on top of the victim and was choking him with both hands around his neck, Patterson said. When two sheriff’s deputies tried to pull Hams off the victim, Hams continued choking him with one hand and attempted to resist the deputy’s efforts with his other hand, Patterson said.

Choking a prosecutor with one hand, while resisting a deputy with the other? Impressive! Welcome to Cook County.

So, where did Henry Hams get his gift for brawling? And who’s representing him in the criminal case he’s facing?

When it comes to fighting, Henry Hams is a certified professional:

State records show Hams obtained a one-year professional boxing license in 2006. It’s unclear whether he was involved in any bouts, according to a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, which issues the licenses. But another boxer at the Chicago Boxing Club, 3508 S. Halsted, said he has seen Hams working out at the club from time to time.

A public defender with a sideline in professional boxing? Has someone bought the movie rights yet?

(Alas, in light of how poorly paid PDs are, the film wouldn’t be called “Million-Dollar Baby.” How does “$52,000 Baby” sound?)

UPDATE: A commenter claims that Hams was licensed as a “second” or cornerman, rather than a boxer. But the point remains: Hams knows more than the average attorney about fighting.

One of our Chicago readers had this commentary on the whole episode: “Further proof that one should don a protective latex suit before entering a state court building….”

(Amen to that. We’ll stick to the federal courts, thank you very much. State court is just so… icky.)

In yesterday’s post, we noted that the public defender must be in need of representation, now that he’s been charged with battery. A reader tells us that Henry Hams has retained some colorful counsel: noted Chicago defense lawyer Richard Kling. Here’s an excerpt from Kling’s bio on the website of the Chicago-Kent law school, where he’s a clinical professor:

During the 1960s and ‘70s, the counter-culture used “flower power,” protests and love-ins to fight the perceived corrupt and over-reaching system of American government. Defense attorney Richard Kling, a self-proclaimed product of the ‘60s and clinical professor at the Chicago-Kent Law Offices, now uses the system to fight the system.

And represents lawyers who fight the system — literally.

The Kent faculty bio also notes that “Kling does not pull his punches, in or out of court.” Apparently neither do his clients.

Defense vs. prosecution: Lawyer allegedly chokes prosecutor after court spat [Chicago Sun-Times]

Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Public Defender Needs Defending

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