Public Defender

My weekend was ruined because I was worried about being arrested.

Michael Courtney, chief public defender in Danbury, Connecticut, having second thoughts about contacting someone in witness protection to be a witness for his client, convicted triple murderer Richard Roszkowski. Courtney requested that he be excused from representing Roszkowski, but a judge denied his pleas.

Lawyers may not lead the most luxurious of lifestyles, but if you’re single and looking, it’s still a profession that will make prospective dates ooh and aah. Most people in the average dating pool think being a lawyer is a road to riches, thus making these eligible bachelors even more appealing.

One non-profit organization decided to take advantage of this allure, and is holding a man auction the week before Valentine’s Day. The event will feature about 50 professional men, and 10 of them are lawyers — very handsome lawyers. The bidding opens at $75, and we bet that some of these lucky gents will be sold for well beyond their hourly billing fees.

So who is the most prestigious piece of lawyerly man meat?

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Ed. note: Matt Kaiser founded The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC, a white-collar boutique in Washington, D.C., and will now be writing a weekly column for us about white-collar practice and his adventures in building a law firm. Matt previously covered the Supreme Court for us. This is the second installment of his new column.

Suppose you’re a fourth-year associate in a litigation department in a large firm on one of the coasts. You’ve worked on a lot of different matters — you’ve done document review for commercial litigation. You put together a privilege log for some patent litigation (who says patent litigation is specialized?). You waded through documents in an FCPA case. You even got to do some deposition digesting for a reinsurance lawsuit!

You really liked your work on the FCPA document review. You noticed that the documents related to a foreign country, which sounded exotic. You could sit in your office, staring at the brick wall on the other side of the alley, and imagine that you were an extra in Casablanca, with a view toward how the world really works overseas.

Perhaps most importantly, you loved how your friends from law school reacted when you told them you were working on an FCPA matter. Cocktail parties became more interesting when people thought of you as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer, rather than the reinsurance guy. You resolved that you’d do more white-collar work and perhaps make this noble practice area the focus of your career.

But how?

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Midwesterners may represent the most wholesome portion of our population, but their lawyerly brethren have allowed their libidos to get the better of them.

Take Kenneth Kratz, the sexting district attorney from Wisconsin who once notably told one of his victims, “You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but I am the prize!” Another fine example is Reema Bajaj, a young solo practitioner in Illinois who pleaded guilty to engaging in prostitution (and was also accused of trading sex for office supplies).

Now we’re hearing about a public defender who was allegedly unable to keep it in his pants. Coles County Public Defender Lonnie Lutz held his position for 33 years before retiring in June. In the final years of his service as PD, he allegedly took advantage of the attorney-client relationship by repeatedly sexually harassing and fondling his female clients, but not all of them — “only the special ones.” The sweet nothings Lutz allegedly whispered to his “special” clients are quite… graphic in nature.

Is Lonnie Lutz just a horny old man? Let’s find out…

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Our latest career alternative for attorneys is probably one that makes most people wish they had not only the funds, but also the creativity to be able to tackle. We’ve covered television screenwriters and novelists in the past, but creating a script for a visual masterpiece on the silver screen is another thing entirely.

It takes time, talent, and most perhaps importantly of all, money. The stealth lawyer profiled in today’s video had all three, and she used them to create a film that touches on social issues that public defenders face each day of their lives. Let’s find out who she is, and what she did prior to becoming a filmmaker….

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Another (dis)satisfied customer.

* Do we really need another “50 Best Law Schools” ranking list? Debatable. But we know you want to find out if your school made the cut. [Business Insider]

* What’s the hardest part of being a public defender? Is it (a) the low pay, (b) the long hours, or (c) getting punched in the face by an unhappy client? [Huffington Post]

* This lawyer is involved in a mess of defamation accusations because he made the mistake of paying attention to anonymous comments. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Only amateur fibbers simply pretend they have cancer. If you want to be the real deal, you gotta tell all your friends you also don’t have health insurance and get them to raise three grand to pay for your imaginary chemo. [Legal Juice]

* So, I would never fake an injury to get to use a wheelchair, because of the serious karma issues it would probably create in my life (e.g., above blurb). But I will say I went to Disneyland once with a physically disabled friend, and it was freaking amazing. I’ve never waited in so few lines in my life. [Consumerist]

* I think the lesson here is that it’s generally poor parenting to name your child after the sound a bomb makes. [CBS Cleveland via Legal Blog Watch]

Standing trial for allegedly stabbing your significant other to death is not where anyone wants to be. Being unable to afford your own atttorney adds a whole new layer of stress to the whole “on trial for murder” issue. Now, add to the mix a public defender who takes a photo of the underwear your family brought you to wear during trial and posts it to Facebook.

Bienvenido a Miami!

Oh yeah, we should mention that the lawyer here is a woman, and the murder defendant is a man. And the underpants were leopard print.

CHECK YOU ineffective assistance of counsel….

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Female attorneys must be on the same cycle in Illinois, because based on all of the ethics complaints that have come down the pipeline, they’ve been acting a little crazy.

Today’s tale of alleged attorney misconduct comes to us as a result of a former public defender’s behavior in court. It’s nowhere near as juicy as the allegations against Reema Bajaj or Tamara Tanzillo, but it’s certainly a cautionary tale for lawyers everywhere who get a little hot-headed when they’re arguing before the bench.

Before you can say “oh sh*t,” let’s get down to the allegations….

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People have really given Mitt Romney hell for saying he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” But really, it’s not just wealthy Republican Mormons who lack compassion for the very poor in this country. Ronald Reagan’s greatest legacy to the Republican Party was that he made it okay for them to categorically disregard the plight of the structurally poor and blame them for their own suffering. And for the most part Democrats have decided that in order to win they must show a similar callousness towards the poor. The poor don’t vote, and so both parties conspire to ignore the impoverished — or worse, talk down to those who were stupid enough to be born to the wrong parents.

At an individual level, nearly all of us are complicit as well. Well, I’ll just speak for me: I do my part to not care about the permanent underclass that lives in the richest society on Earth. I won’t even give money to homeless people on the street unless they sing or dance or perform some sort of talent. One time I gave “James,” a blind man who panhandles on the 4/5/6, line at the same times I head into the office, $20 — not because I wanted to be kind but because I got so sick of his spiel (“I’m legally blind, I get a little bit of disability but that only leaves me $18 a month for food.”). I thought he might leave me alone for the rest of the month.

I don’t think I’m the only one who sometimes wants poor people to just go away….

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... but it will never be granted.

* Most Americans can look forward to a tax increase in 2012 because our elected officials would rather bicker with each other than do their jobs. Happy freakin’ New Year! [Los Angeles Times]

* Duncan Law’s dean sheds some light on why the ABA might have denied the school provisional accreditation. Come on, what’s not to like about a median LSAT of 147? [National Law Journal]

* Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed underwear bomber, has put in some special requests for a new lawyer. Beggars can’t really be choosers, though, so I wouldn’t count on it, buddy. [Reuters]

* More ex-NFL players are suing over brain injuries. You shouldn’t be allowed to sue over your career in football when you knew that a helmet was a required part of your uniform. [Bloomberg]

* If everyone with a professional degree could sue over lost sleep and long hours, then almost every lawyer in the country would be a plaintiff, especially those in Biglaw. [New York Post]

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