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August 9, 2006
Smoking Is Good For Your Legal Health?

The latest folly of defense lawyers in appealing a conviction comes to us via the New York Times. The attorneys for convicted murderer Phillip Elmore argue that a Columbus, Ohio jury rushed to convict him because the judge did not allow them to take cigarette breaks while deliberating:

Lawyers for a man convicted of beating a former girlfriend to death with a lead pipe argued before the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday that their client should be spared the death penalty, partly because jurors were not allowed to smoke while deliberating.

“A capital trial is supposed to be a considered process,” said Keith A. Yeazel, one of the lawyers. “Jurors shouldn’t be trying to speed up the process so they can go outside and smoke a Kool cigarette.”

Of course, the appeal ignores the strong evidence that led to Elmore's conviction on the more serious of the charges jurors selected. That strong evidence came from ... Phillip Elmore:

The defendant, Phillip E. Elmore, 43, admitted his guilt during his trial in October 2003. While on the stand, Mr. Elmore said, “I feel I deserve the worst punishment that there is,” according to the court transcript.

The judge accused the attorneys of trying to create a new privileged class for protection against discrimination in their unique appeal. The appeal appears to do just that, in forcing a retrial on the basis of oppression of nicotine junkies by The Man.

The attorneys say they expect their appeal to get rejected. It shouldn't get rejected; it should get copied and distributed to law schools all over the nation to explain to students why people dislike lawyers so much. The court should order the motion to be read aloud on the Tonight Show as part of Jay Leno's comedy routine. A simple rejection would be a waste of resources.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 9, 2006 5:44 AM

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» The Knucklehead of the Day award from The Florida Masochist
Today's winner is Attorney Keith A Yeazel. [Read More]

Tracked on August 10, 2006 7:49 AM


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