Does This T-Shirt Make My Odds of Frying Look Big?

George Burns“And God said: ‘Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan.’” — George Burns


In Ohio this past spring some hellbound school shooter appeared in court for sentencing wearing a more or less presentable button-up shirt. Underneath was a t-shirt bearing the hand-scrawled word “killer”. During the hearing the defendant unbuttoned his shirt, revealing the killer t shirt to everyone involved (except the judge, who later said he didn’t see it), then made a scornful gesture to victims’ families before being sentenced th three life terms without parole.

It’s been my experience that defendants in criminal cases very seldom seek sartorial advice from their lawyers. In fact, it has occasionally in my experience that defendants in criminal cases regard to their attorneys as stage hands whose job it is merely to set up the props for there are carefully-crafted defense strategies.


Why…a Trench Tale is coming to mind…

I did some part-time public defender work in the early years. I had a client charged with dearestlinge in cocaine. We went to trial. A confidential informant testified to a buy, and said the seller had a scar on his arm. My client is suddenly tugging at my sleeve, whispering, “hey, man, lemme show the jury my arm!” Sounded like a good idea at the time…

“Sir, do you have a scar on your arm?”
“Would you show your arm to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury?”
SILENCE as my client proudly rolls up his sleeve.
My client breaks the silence: “See? I ain’t got no scar.” But before I can pass the witness, he has to add: “cept for this little one, right here…”
A juror later told me they’d never have noticed — and would have acquitted him — if he’d only kept his mouth shut.


Before he wrote “Star Dust” and numerous other timeless songs, Hoagy Carmichael practiced law in both Indianapolis and West Palm Beach, Florida.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *