Seriously, Counsel? That’s your best defense tactic?

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I don’t want to talk about the Sandusky case in terms of his guilt or innocence. Obviously what he has been accused of his heinous and evil; we should let the justice system work itself out.

What I do want to comment on is how ridiculous Mr. Amendola, his lawyer is. When I saw Monday night’s actual interview live, I was literally screaming at the TV that Mr. Sandusky’s lawyer was quite possibly the worst attorney practicing; Leave it to comedian John Stewart to articulate why

Let’s pretend though for a minute that Mr. Sandusky hadn’t come out looking incredibly creepy and sounded so stilted in his response to the question of whether he was sexually attracted to underaged boys.  Let’s pretend he came across as totally believably innocent.  What then?  His recollection of events was never going to come in at trial.  The prosecutor would never put it on for the jury and the rules of evidence wouldn’t allow Mr. Amendola to play it for the jury, because its hearsay.  Mr. Sandusky would have to take the stand and do it all over again, perfectly.

But he clearly didn’t do a good job.  He made admission after admission.  Any denials were ham-handed and you bet your bottom dollar that the prosecution is going to play this interview for any jury they get.  And it will kill the defenses case.  Mr. Amendola has practiced law in Pennsylvania since 1973, the year before I was born, and I am left wondering… what was his strategy?  His colleagues in Pennsylvania have gone to bat for him in interviews saying he is a good lawyer, but judge by this colossal misstep I am left to wonder.

As far as I can tell, Sandusky’s lawyer is simply hoping to turn this into a payday by increasing his notoriety.  It seems to me unlikely that his client was begging to go on national television.  The New York Times has reported that the interview was a complete surprise to Bob Costas, with Mr. Amendola asking him 15 minutes before the interview on his own: ‘What if I could get Sandusky on the phone?’ Was it a surprise to Mr. Sandusky as well?  Clearly he was not ready for any of the questions his lawyer never should have put him in the position of answering.  There was no strategic advantage to doing this, from the get go it was only going to hurt his client. As far as I can tell, he has totally sold his client out.

This is not a case about winning a publicity campaign.  Mr. Sandusky’s life and career, however this case was going to end were clearly over.  No one would ever hire him to work with children or young adults.  The number and character of the accusations alone are something that no one could recover from.  All Mr. Amendola could do as the defense attorney in this case was keep his client from spending the remainder of his life in prison.  That was his one job and he blew it up on Monday night.

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Trial of Three Kicks

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A lawyer from the big city goes duck hunting out in the country one weekend. He is in luck and shoots a duck with his very first shot. The dead duck falls from the sky and lands in a farmer’s field. The lawyer goes out to get the duck and the old farmer drives his tractor over and picks up the dead bird.

“Hey!” shouts the lawyer, running over, “That’s my bird!”
“Pardon?” asks the farmer, “This duck landed in my field. Makes it mine.”
“My good sir,” says the lawyer, “Both the Code of Hamurabi and the rule in Penelope’s Case says that when the hunter wings a bird in flight, no matter where it lands, the fowl goes to the hunter.”
“Eh?” says the old farmer eyeing the lawyer suspiciously. Then he takes a sigh and smiles slightly. “You must be one of those Big City Lawyers.”
“I am,” says the lawyer proudly, “I am Graham Goodson of Goodson Schnocker and Bliss.”
“Oh, well Mr. Goodson, we have what we call a Trial of Three Kicks when decidin’ who , ‘round these parts.”
“I see, quaint local practices,” says the lawyer. “I’m game, what is a Trial of Three Kicks?”
“When two fellers disputin’ the propriety of a bird like this, the first feller kicks the other three times and then the second feller kicks the first three times and so on until one or the other gives up. As it’s undisputedly my land, I’d kick first.”
The lawyer looks over the farmer who appears in his eighties. He is thin as a twig and looked like a reasonable gust of wind might blow him over. The lawyer thinks he might want to go back to the car and get a waiver and consent form out of his briefcase, but in the end decides it isn’t worth the walk.
“Alright,” says the lawyer, “I accept.”
“Great!” says the farmer who immediately kicks the lawyer with the force of a lifetime of work right in the groin at which the lawyer doubles over. The farmer then kicks the lawyer in the gut with an equally powerful kick that sends the lawyer sprawling into the mud. With one more mighty whallop, the farmer kicks the lawyer in the teeth.
For several minutes the lawyer rolls on the ground, stunned by the ferocity of the three kicks. Ultimately, he his able to regain his composure and stagger to his feet.
“My… Turn…” the lawyer says haltingly.
The old farmer looks at the lawyer slyly.
“Aw, heck,” he says. “I gives up; you keep that bird.”

New video on Hearsay

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I’ve been working on a new video which I think is fun. It’s kind of a boring topic, but everyone screws it up so often that I thought something had to be done. This is the result.

Hello world! Pleased to Meet you…

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Glad to see that you stumbled across the newest addition to the blogosphere.  I hope to provide readers with legal information that is at the same time exciting, interesting and informative.

Some things you should know about me is that I am an attorney in Grand Junction, Colorado with a practice that mainly consists of criminal defense and immigration work.  I own my own practice:  Aaron Norris, LLC located in downtown Grand Junction, CO.

I am a graduate of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver and the University of Colorado at Boulder.