Bad Ideas, Cocaine / Crack, Drugs, Lawsuit of the Day, Trials

Lawyer of the Day: Taking a Performance Enhancement During Trial Lands a Lawyer in Jail

Would you want your lawyer to do everything in his power to zealously represent you during your trial? What if doing all he can involves snorting a line during your trial?

Hey, don’t be too quick to judge. Coke heads tend to be alert and aggressive — and those are good qualities for a trial lawyer to have. And I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always tell my lawyer upon the first meeting is: “Look buddy, you handle your detox issues on your own time. When you’re billing me, I want you on whatever drug cocktail you need to be at your best.”

Of course, not all clients are as self-interested as I am. And most court officers also have ridiculous “standards” about “drug use in the courthouse.” Sheesh.

So, unfortunately, a Minnesota lawyer is going to have to spend two days in the pokey for his illicit trial prep skills…

The ABA Journal reports that some people are still very uptight when it comes to cocaine use:

A Minnesota lawyer has been sentenced to two days in jail for snorting cocaine in the Winona County Courthouse while defending a client in a terroristic threats trial.

Charles Ramsay, 43, was also fined $2,500, ordered to perform 240 hours of community service and sentenced to 10 years of probation in the third-degree felony drug possession case, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Shockingly, the fact that Ramsay snorted coke while in the service of a client was an aggravating factor in his crime. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

“This was a crime that occurred within a courthouse and was committed by an officer of the court at a time when he was in the process of representing a private client in a criminal case — so certainly a very disturbing set of circumstances, and he was held accountable for that,” [attorney James Backstrom] said.

Backstrom commended Ramsay, however, for acknowledging his drug problem and completing treatment at a private facility.

What you call disturbing, I call committed! The man just wasn’t going to let his drug problem get in the way of his professional obligations.

Of course, this brings up a whole other question: if a lawyer with a coke problem doesn’t snort cocaine during representation of a client, and that client is later convicted for some crime, could the client turn around a claim that he had ineffective assistance of counsel? Interesting, right? See, if you don’t reflexively look at drug use as “fundamentally evil” or whatever, all kinds of possibilities open up. Expand your horizons, people.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I believe that my spine may be bleeding.

Cocaine use gets New Brighton lawyer 2 days [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Lawyer Gets 2 Days in Jail for Snorting Coke at Courthouse During Client’s Trial [ABA Journal]

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