Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Happy Birthday Trayvon!
As I predicted, Judge Nelson denied the defense motion to continue the trial date. You might think MOM and Don West would be angry and depressed but they were smiling and laughing. If you tuned in right after the hearing ended, you would have thought they won. I explain below why I believe they are delighted with the outcome.
I do not deserve any credit for accurately predicting her decision because the outcome was obvious.
The motion was a smoke-and-mirrors effort to provide cover for the real reasons for the continuance. The real reasons were MOM wanted more time to troll for dollars on the internet and to continue trying his case in the court of public opinion.
Judge Nelson cut him off in mid argument and asked him to give a specific reason why he needed the continuance. He could not do it because Judge Nelson knows bullshit when she hears it.
She read him her order setting the trial date and reminded him that he had agreed to the June date. Then she denied his motion.
Her order likely is not appealable because it would be an interlocutory appeal, which is prohibited subject to a few specific exceptions that do not apply.
Interlocutory appeals, BTW, are mid-stream appeals. That is, appeals filed before the trial court enters a final order disposing of the case after sentencing. Appellate courts do not want to deal with piecemeal appeals taken from orders that do not dispose of a case.
However, even if the Court of Appeals agreed to consider an interlocutory appeal from Judge Nelson’s denial of the motion to continue the trial date, it would have to affirm her order because MOM did not provide a specific reason why the continuance was necessary.
MOM got frustrated with her and blurted out that the defense does not have any experts, but that is not a basis to continue the trial date because there are still four months to go before trial and the defense has had almost a year to get some experts on board, but failed to do so despite having well over $300,000 in internet contributions.
That they might have spent their money unwisely is not the court’s problem.
What happens now?
Unless a billionaire or two provide adequate seed money, and why would they with this hopeless mess, MOM is going to have to file a motion seeking an order that would declare the defendant indigent and allow him to proceed in forma pauperis (i.e., as a pauper).
Under the circumstances with the defense nearly out of money and probably on the hook for the $27,000 owed to AIS, I think Judge Nelson would grant the order. If so, the Court would appoint and pay for an attorney and reasonably necessary costs for investigation and expert witnesses.
Here is where the situation gets a little less predictable. Whom will Judge Nelson appoint to represent the defendant. He gets no say in the matter, BTW.
But for Florida having recently passed a law prohibiting private counsel from being appointed to represent an indigent defendant who ran out of money after retaining them, I would expect Judge Nelson would have been inclined to appoint MOM or West because appointing new counsel will almost certainly require continuing the trial date.
Although both lawyers have claimed that they have not taken a cent for the time they spent working the case, and that might arguably mean that the statute does not apply to them, they have spent money to acquire new office equipment. For example, MOM has spent $40,000. That probably disqualifies them from being appointed.
I think there is a much more persuasive reason why Judge Nelson will not appoint them. They do not want to be appointed.
If you have not done so, watch the hearing with the sound off and study their body language. If you do not want to watch the whole thing, fast forward through it and watch what happens after Judge Nelson declares the Court is in recess.
MOM and West are all smiles and acting like they won the hearing. They stand with their backs to the seated glum defendant, ignoring him. BDLR’s second chair comes over and briefly tugs on MOM’s sleeve to get his attention and they share a little joke and laugh. Then MOM and West pack-up their stuff and leave without apparently saying anything to the defendant who continues to stare glumly at the table.
He remains there silent, still and alone, except for MOM’s assistant, the blonde lawyer from his office whose role appears to be to babysit him. She hovers nearby until the bailiff approaches him and tells him to leave. They leave together, but her body language suggests she cannot abide him. No surprise there.
I think the real winners today may have been MOM and West who now appear to have a face-saving ticket out of the case.
Given their indescribably toxic and unpleasant client, I think this might be the best news they’ve had since they got involved in this nightmare case.
Could even be the best news they have ever heard.