Friday, April 10, 2015

Who We Are and What We Do: Part The God Knows How Many It's Been Now

Here we go again.

Nobody's said it better than Harry Truman, assuming he's the one who said it.
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The subject (and yeah, I'm getting in at the end of the day rather than the beginning but there's this thing about actually getting work done that comes before sitting down for a rant at the keyboard) is David Aylor.  You know, this guy.

He's the kid who agreed to defend Michael Slager, the cop who shot and killed Walter Scott the other day.  Which just makes sense.  I mean, he's the best.  Says so right there.

And when you're a cop who just went and shot a guy in the back while he was running away from you, and then made up a bullshit story and planted evidence to try to back it up, well, you don't just want any old shyster in your corner.  You want David Aylor, who voters picked as 

And by god, he was in Slager's corner.  Andrew Knapp for The Post and Courier.
A North Charleston police officer felt threatened last weekend when the driver he had stopped for a broken brake light tried to overpower him and take his Taser.
That’s why Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager, a former Coast Guardsman, fatally shot the man, the officer’s attorney said Monday.
Slager thinks he properly followed all procedures and policies before resorting to deadly force, lawyer David Aylor said in a statement.
“This is a very tragic event for all of the families,” Aylor said. “I believe once the community hears all the facts of this shooting, they’ll have a better understanding of the circumstances surrounding this investigation."
In his corner, that is, until he wasn't.  From Aylor's website (fonts changed because I can't copy and shrink the original and what I get if I just copy overwhelms my blog and looks stupid).
Aylor No Longer Represents North Charleston Police Officer
APRIL 7, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE​​​​ Contact: David Aylor
​​​​​​​​​​ 843-577-5530
Attorney David Aylor Issues Statement:
Aylor No Longer Represents North Charleston Police Officer
Charleston, South Carolina – April 7, 2015 – Attorney David Aylor today issued the following statement regarding North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager, the police officer involved with Saturday’s shooting.
“Today, I withdrew my representation of Michael Slager. This is a terrible tragedy that has impacted our community.”
Others have been writing about Aylor's lust for press attention.  And really, you do have to wonder about the press release.  

Were all those reporters lining up because the interesting thing about the case that it was Aylor who was the lawyer?  It's an extraordinary level or narcissism.  Which perhaps explains why he then felt the need to do an interview with the Daily Beast where he explained 
I can't specifically state what is the reason why or what isn't the reason why I'm no longer his lawyer. All I can say is that the same day of the discovery of the video that was disclosed publicly, I withdrew as counsel immediately. Whatever factors people want to take from that and conclusions they want to make, they have the right to do that. But I can't confirm from an attorney-client standpoint what the reason is.
You know, the video that showed that that the "better understanding of the circumstances" wasn't going to do Slager much good.

OK, yeah he essentially rolled on his client.

Yeah, he violated attorney-client privilege in substance if not in form while denying that he was doing that.

Yeah, he made an ass of himself in public, but that's what comes from media whoring when there's nothing to back it up besides being

And yeah it looks like shit, but they do say there's no such thing as bad publicity (though that's what convinced Rakofsky to sue the internet and it doesn't seem to have turned out too well for him - but I digress).

But see, here's the other thing.  Clients can be a pain.  They don't want to pay their bills.  They want their hands held.  They want their phone calls returned at their convenience.  They want not just loyalty and vigorous and competent and zealous representation.  They want to win.  And they want us to guarantee it and then deliver.    And do it their way - however ill-advised that way may be.

Sometimes the client fires the lawyer.  Sometimes the lawyer fires the client. 

But we're talking criminal defense here, and that means some possibility that the client may be (how can I put this delicately? Right, got it)
And he was surprised?  Or was he surprised the way Slager was?  Surprised that there's actual evidence showing that Slager was lying and planting evidence and actually did shoot a guy in the back while he was running away and posing no threat to anyone?

Because he figured he'd get a win 'cause juries always believe the cops when they make up bullshit about how they had to kill.  And then, suddenly, it looked like he might go down in flames.

And since it was never about Slager but always about Aylor - before, during, and after.  'Cause remember

You know, it's even possible that in the courtroom Aylor is the best lawyer in Charleston.  Really, it's possible.  He may have an extraordinary rapport with juries.  He may be a prodigy of cross-examination.  He may have a photographic memory. And he has, if his website is to be believed (hey, it might be true) a "legal team" with another lawyer, a maybe soon-to-be lawyer, a bunch of investigators, an office manager who breeds cats, dogs, and thoroughbreds in her spare time, even a goddamned accident reconstructionist.  He's been on Fox News and Dateline and in the New York Post.*  Oh, and he's a prosecutor on the side.

Damn, no wonder he's the best.

But there's that thing about it being about the clients not about us.  Always.  And there's that other thing about when the going gets tough.

And really, if you're going to do criminal defense, you might as well be OK with the idea that sometimes you'll be representing criminals.

The thing is, this isn't about Aylor.  He's just an instance.  Like Lot's wife, "both caution and example."**

*Hell, I was once interviewed by the BBC and I've been in the New York Times and on NPR and on TV and radio and in newspapers all across Ohio.  But the Post?  Wow.

** In John Bunyan's great, albeit little-read allegory The Pilgrim's Progress, Hopeful and Christian come upon a pillar of salt which they recognize as the pillar of salt into which god turned Lot's wife.  Then:
Christian: Let us take notice of what we see here, for our help from time to come. This woman escaped one judgment, for she fell not by the destruction of Sodom; yet she was destroyed by another, as we see: she is turned into a pillar of salt.
Hopeful: True, and she may be to us both caution and example; caution, that we should shun her sin; or a sign of what judgment will overtake such as shall not be prevented by this caution: so Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with the two hundred and fifty men that perished in their sin, did also become a sign or example to others to beware.

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