Friday, June 10, 2011

Here's a lawyer that gets my respect:

Cobbins’ defense attorney, Kim Parton, refused Thursday to raise that issue [Judge Richard Baumgartner possibly being under the influence of pills] as grounds for an automatic motion for new trial filed in Cobbins’ case. She was so emphatic in her belief that Baumgartner, who has since resigned and pleaded guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct, was in his right mind when Cobbins was tried that she sought to withdraw from representing Cobbins, who insisted she argue he deserved a new trial because of Baumgartner’s alleged impairment.

Richard Baumgartner was a distinguished lawyer and judge. As a Criminal Court jurist, he presided with dignity and grace over many of the most difficult and notorious cases in Knox County over the past two decades. Anyone who saw how ravaged his face became over the past couple of years knew that he was suffering from something. I thought it was merely him aging; I had no idea what he was going through.

For Kim Parton to refuse to raise the "judge under the influence" issue shows what trial lawyers are capable of. It's a no-brainer argument, one would think, at least if one gets one's education from the plethora of stupid lawyer shows habitually on the air. Howver, unless there is some evidence that Baumgartner actually was under the influence at the time of the trial, or that his conduct was somehow degraded to the point where the defendant failed to get a fair trial, Ms. Parton is absolutely right to refuse to raise the argument. And she is absolutely right to move to withdraw as counsel if the client is insisting she do something she believes is inappropriate. That's what lawyers are supposed to do: use independent legal judgment, regardless of how unpopular that judgment might be.

Kim Parton gets my "Lawyer of the Week" award (I invented it just now, just for her).

TDOT says Britton Bridge can resume projects; future contract eligibility in the air. Here's my problem with this wishy-washy approach. If Britton Bridge is excluded from bidding on future jobs, it would be presumably because they run an unsafe business. In that case, why would they be allowed to continue the four jobs they are working now?

Either they are a safe business and therefore eligible to bid jobs in the future, or they are unsafe and should be removed from all current work now. And if there is a finding that Britton is unsafe, is it not dangerous to the workers on their job site -- not to mention the public -- to allow them to continue? If they are a safe business, then why would TDOT implicitly defame them by tossing out the notion that they might be prohibited from future bidding? It strikes me as contradictory to let them finish current jobs, presumably safely, but perhaps bar them from future bidding.

TDOT, make up your mind.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Knoxville's finest? "A former Knoxville Police Department officer accused of plying teenage girls with booze in racy encounters inside his home and downloading pornographic videos featuring teenage girls has struck a tentative deal to confess."
Sexual misbehavior or bullying? Middle schoolers hold student down, attempt to insert felt tip pen in victim's rectum.

Who cares which way to characterize it? This is just wrong.

UPDATE: Apparently the jury saw it my way: Families awarded $100K each in Wayne County hazing case
Knox deputies raid two gambling operations, seize cash, gaming tables. Who needs Las Vegas? Or, that's why they call us "Knox Vegas."