The advocate’s Achilles’ heel – cocktails at lunch

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From Gary Slapper’s Weird Cases 03/07/09:

That inappropriate courtroom conduct is, though, trumped by the less than effective representation of attorney Raymond Brownlow who was charged with contempt of court in the District of Columbia in 1968. He had arrived in court in the late morning and had begun to address the judge in a most erratic way in front of a bemused client. This exchange then followed:

JUDGE: Have you been drinking?

BROWNLOW: I had a cocktail at lunch

JUDGE: This morning?

BROWNLOW: Yes

The first thing to draw the suspicion of the judge, however, was the fact that Brownlow was appearing in the wrong case — the opening speech into which he’d loudly launched was for a different trial being held in another courtroom.

Sleeping judges, tweeting magistrates and inebriated advocates? Is it any wonder the legal profession has such a bad reputation?

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